Hi everyone! Welcome back to another one of my ‘Cathy’s Opinions’ posts – today I wanted to talk about the movie theatre experience and why I think movie-goers around the world gravitate towards it, and more importantly, why I love it. With COVID-19 having such a large impact on our day to day lives, one change (that was pretty big for us movie lovers!) was the shut down of movie theatres across the country (in Canada anyway). Of course, I completely understood and agreed with this decision because it was for the safety of everyone involved; I did feel genuinely worried that the theatres would take a massive hit though and they wouldn’t be able to recover. Why? Because I love going to the cinema and having the theatre watching experience. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy watching movies at home though because I definitely do and I recognize that it has its own set of appeals and comforts, but there’s just something quite unmatched about actually experiencing a film in theatres.

For a lot of production companies during the extreme heights of COVID, they all had to make the big decision of transitioning from theatre releases to at home streaming. With the risk of delaying too many releases without knowing when theatres would be safe and open again, this was definitely the right choice to make. I was quite happy with this transition too because it was a safe way to enjoy new films during quarantine while also providing us with some excitement and joy that was much needed. While many theatres have since opened back up, there have still been a large number of films that were only released online for streaming services. Disney+ is a good example of this, with many of their recent films like Pinocchio (2022), Soul (2022), Turning Red (2022), and Prey (2022) all only being available to audiences exclusively on their platform. And being able to stream movies at home has definitely garnered many fans in support of this – it’s easy, comfortable, quick, AND you don’t even have to leave your house. But for many others at home, I do remember reading comments about how they wished they could’ve seen some of these films in theatres instead. For instance, many people said they would’ve paid to see Prey in theatres because they felt it was a great film worthy of the big screen. So what is it about watching movies in theatres that makes us willing to pull out our wallets and pay for a ticket?

Well for me, there’s a lot of different factors that go into why I love the theatre experience. When I was a little kid, I was a huge fan of movies (especially Disney!) so every time my parents announced that we would be going to the theatres, it felt like such an extra special treat to me. Although I’m still considered pretty young (I’m only 24!), back when I was a kid, streaming services weren’t a thing yet. So if you wanted to watch movies of any sort, you had to either purchase a movie ticket, head over to Blockbuster (that’s a shout), or wait to buy the DVD/Blu-ray when it finally came out. That’s why going on a family outing to the movie theatre felt like such a big thing to me. We didn’t go very often, but when we did, I had such a great time and now, I have very fond memories of it. I really love how something so seemingly insignificant is actually very dear to my heart.

And my love for movies and going to the theatre didn’t stop there. As I grew older and made money of my own, I would go to the movie theatre on a constant basis. I think at one point I almost watched every film being featured at the cinema near my house. For a young, movie-loving teenage girl, that’s quite the feat. While I loved going with friends whenever they were interested, I never saw movies as a social opportunity. In fact, I’m pretty sure I went alone more times than I went with a group – I wasn’t really there for the social aspect of “going to the movies”, I was there to simply enjoy a movie I was personally really looking forward to. I’m the kind of movie fan that would purchase opening night tickets to any new Marvel or DC film, watch Wonder Woman (2017) in theatres on three separate occasions, and transit 45 minutes from my university dorm just to watch Power Rangers (2017) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) when they first came out.

There’s just something that feels special about going out of your way to head over to the cinema to watch a movie you’re really excited about. It makes it feel more like an event or a treat, and there’s an atmosphere there that I just love. There’s something both exciting and comforting about the giant projector screen, watching the previews, getting your ears blasted by the slightly overbearing sound system, and sitting on the not so desirable yet familiar red chairs (Landmark Theatres actually upgraded to reclining chairs several years back that are so so comfy). Don’t forget about theatre food though because let’s be honest here, movie theatre popcorn just hits different. It’s really not replicable at home. I’m a big snacker so I love grabbing myself a medium bag of that extra buttery popcorn to munch on, always reminding myself not to eat too much during the previews (you got to save it for the movie you feel?).

And here’s something that not everyone may agree with me on (it’s totally up to personal preference), but I love watching movies in a packed theatre, especially when it’s a movie where I feel like it’ll generate some great audience reactions. I love feeling like a part of something, and sometimes with certain movies, it really feels like a once in a lifetime experience. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) are two perfect examples of this. These are two theatre experiences that I won’t ever forget just because of how united the audience felt. I loved hearing every gasp, laugh, and sniffle that was reflective of my own emotions. The most recent film I watched in theatres was Everything Everywhere all at Once (2022) (don’t forget to support indie films!) and that was a treat too. The cheers, the tears, the laughter, it wasn’t even a packed audience but I could feel the movie resonating with everyone there and it made it feel all the better. But of course, there’s some movie theatre etiquette that needs to be followed so you can be a respectful viewer, but that’s going to be discussed in another upcoming post (spoiler). 😉

But now with prices of movie tickets sky rocketing to almost double of what they used to be ($16 CAD?!), I only go to the movie theatre for films that I’m particularly excited about and can’t wait to watch. That, or if it’s a Tuesday (cheaper tickets) and I’ve got the time to spare. While I can’t say I’m exactly happy about how expensive things at the movies have gotten in general, I still enjoy my experience whenever I do head over to the cinema. That special movie theatre feeling still sits with me today and I’m sure I’ll continue to love it as I grow older.

Do you enjoy going to theatres as much as I do or are you a fan of at home streaming? I love and appreciate both so there’s no wrong answer here! 🙂 Are there any specific memories or special experiences you’ve had the movie theatre that you want to share? Feel free to comment below! 😀