I no longer want to go to the movies. And I'm okay with that.
When it was announced that HBO Max and Disney+ would be releasing movies on their streaming services the same day they were hitting theaters, it caused quite an uproar. Filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan lambasted the studios, citing how movies are meant to be a big-screen experience.
I use to go to the cinema quite a lot, both in America and here in Japan (and I must say I prefer the Japanese experience better, although I prefer American concession stands). Then the pandemic came and I was forced to stay away. Only recently have I gotten streaming services like Netflix and Disney+. And when it was announced that some studios were releasing movies streaming and theatrically at the same time, I was intrigued.
And now I prefer it. I view that the cinema going experience is dying, although it won't go away completely, in much the same way as drive-ins have not entirely disappeared.
Going to the movies is just too much of a hassle. You have to plan the days, drive there (which in my case takes more than an hour), you're in a noisy place with people talking during the movie...It's such a bother. And many of the same experiences you have at a theater can now be done at home. Technology is improving, with TVs getting more hi-def and cheaper every year. Physical and streaming media is becoming more higher resolution and a good speaker set up is not as difficult or expensive as it was years before. Technology-wise, some homes can rival a cinema. And even if your home equipment isn't the latest, it's still not that different than what's used at the cinema.
But what about gathering with your friends, you might ask. Watch parties. Whether because of different schedules, work, or whatever, getting all your friends physically together in the same is tough. But now, your friends don't have to be in the same building, state, or even the same country. You can plan a watch party when it suits you best. Tweet as you watch if you want and there's no theater employee to tell you to turn off your cell phone. Concessions are now cheaper and can be whatever you want to eat.
And I must admit, I prefer watching movies by myself. I like to be fully immersed in the film, with no one talking or making a MST3K-style running commentary the whole time.
Will cinemas go away completely? I don't think so. But I think the cinema going experience is dying, and I hope studios and filmmakers realize that a new style of watching movies is emerging. I prefer the streaming model. I'd even be willing to a reasonable sum (sorry Disney but $30 is not a reasonable sum) to watch movies at home on their release day. The pandemic has changed many way in which we do things and shown us new ways to enjoy things. I hope the change continues.