Friday, February 5, 2021

Did Covid Kill The Traditional Movie Experience?

I have always loved going to the movies. My wife prefers watching videos at home while multi-tasking, but I really like the traditional movie experience in a theater. There is something magical about watching previews before the movie starts with the smell of popcorn in the auditorium. The excitement generated in a packed theater watching Star Wars, LOTR, or a Marvel movie is something magical. Take a look at the short clip below from Avengers Endgame to see what I'm talking about. By the way, I'm all about theater etiquette and not being noisy but there are times when the audience can't help but react out loud. I'm afraid that enjoying a movie with a large group of strangers may be a thing of the past after this last year.

Well over a year ago I was looking forward to seeing No Time to Die, A Quiet Place 2, Ghostbusters, Top Gun 2, Death on the Nile, and many other movies in the Spring and Summer of 2020. As theaters began to speculate about shutting down over Covid concerns, studios began pushing their release dates back. When we were told to social distance for "2 weeks to flatten the curve", most movies pushed their release dates back a couple months in order to avoid losing money in empty theaters and I can't say I blame them, but I continued to watch in agony for months and noticed each of these movies getting pushed back further and further every time I checked on updated release dates. 

Since the lockdown efforts started last year, Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 were the only two big movies that have been released in theaters. (Fortunately I missed Wonder Woman.) So many movies have gone direct to streaming thanks to Netflix, Disney, HBO, and other studios who have seen the writing on the wall. I have no idea how movie theaters can stay in business these days, especially if they have to social distance and only sell a portion of their available seats. Even extremely over priced popcorn and soda can't compensate for the kind of losses they have experienced over the last year. 

I'm afraid going to a movie in the theater might become a thing of the past like drive in theaters, or renting a video from Blockbuster. I've been pretty angry about Covid-19, our response to it over the last year, and how those changes have affected up so many of the aspects of life I used to enjoy and look forward to including something as simple and enjoyable as going to the movies!

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