Three Reasons Not To Go To The Movies
Rude patrons and indifferent theater staff
© 2013 Express10
Use of cell phones (any type of use that makes the screen of the phone light up or makes any sound), talking, small children, and people who save seats for others for extended periods during peak times are just some of the common irritations movie goers face. In many theaters, staff are often nowhere to be seen in each theater while movies are running. The Alamo Drafthouse (Texas) aside, many theaters do not take any action to those causing any of the above distractions without being asked or begged to do so by other customers.
For many people, negative experiences with these irritations are reason enough not to go to the movies even when there may be a high desire to see new releases. Venturing to the movies is increasingly becoming much more of an annoyance. Notably, repeated experiences with these distractions are very commonly cited as reasons that some theater goers have reduced their trips to the movies and others have stopped going altogether.
While theaters and a fair number of people within the movie industry have taken note of the trend of declining ticket sales and revenues, it doesn't appear that these distractions amongst the patrons are being addressed. While there may be one or two on screen reminders for people to turn off cell phones, quiet children, and not to talk during the movie, humans are often a selfish bunch and most simply ignore these reminders and common courtesy and consideration of others.
To counteract the downward trend in ticket sales there has been a recent uptick in 3-D movie releases in hopes of getting more rear ends into the seats. In addition to being a fat profit gimmick, I find 3-D strains my eye muscles and gives me a headache yet my beau loves it. Nevertheless he also hates the way other people distract and ruin the movie experience. Theaters attempt to get more tickets sold via VIP and rewards programs. However, I would definitely pay a premium directly to theaters and/or the studios to see certain first-run movies from the comfort of my home simply to avoid the irritations of inconsiderate patrons. The major obstacle with this is piracy and the possibility of people turning their homes into theaters.
However, large chain theaters such as Regal and AMC often do not even attempt to perform a mediocre job of making sure that customers do not experience these distractions, yet they continually scratch their heads as to why sales continue to decline. With competition from so many sources such as online and offline media options, a logical person would think that theaters and even movie industry decision makers would put more emphasis on the total experience of the patrons rather than just let these negative experiences be.
In today's me, me, me world, many offenders only care about themselves and refuse to acknowledge that for many a trip to the movies is a time for entertainment and not a time to have the bright light of a cell phone distracting them or to be interrupted by talking or children. Many believe that they cannot be kicked out by staff, yet if staff ignores these problems they will continue losing revenue from a fair number of customers. It is possible that at some point, even the large chains will have to take real action in these situations to keep the larger number of considerate patrons coming back.
A movie just may be the only respite from the grind of daily life for some movie goers and most people generally dislike movie interruptions and distractions no matter how much or how little entertainment time they have. Cell phones, babies, and talking are a genuine distraction to many people and this is regardless of whether or not anything is said to the offender. Where one or two people do speak up there may be a fairly good chance of getting into a verbal or even physical exchange depending on how selfish/rude the offender is and exactly how the topic is initiated by those who have been distracted, offended, or irritated. Now how is that for entertainment?
Tickets, 3-D glasses, concessions. Many of us are aware that the markups theaters enjoy is typically several hundred to over a thousand percent on a variety of things that are offered for sale by theaters. Popcorn is the worst of offenders simply because it costs little (in comparison with other concession offerings) to transport to the theater and make. However, it's price often comes close to the price of a single movie ticket without even taking into account the cost of buying a beverage to go with it. Many argue that those who buy concessions are subsidizing the costs of tickets for everyone and that it's the only way for theaters to make any money. However, there are many people who would be willing to pay more for a ticket in exchange for more reasonable prices at the concessions stand and no distractions (such as cell phones and babies) during movies.
While there are a lot of concessions sold each day, if management of many large chains pay attention, they will still see a very large percentage of customers do not buy concessions. Commonly cited reasons are high prices and a lack of any healthy offerings. It is hard to stomach the cost versus profit for those who have a clue as to what the markups are. Because many people do know the markups they protest by not buying concessions or sneaking their own in. To make things worse, movie theater popcorn is topped with artery clogging "butter" with needless and unsafe chemicals in it that theaters usually do not disclose. Moreover, many patrons don't know that the buttery smell in theaters is actually a chemical fragrance added to the "butter" topping to tempt patrons to buy popcorn. Think about that the next time you or anyone you love pours this stuff over popcorn that you or they will eat.
Millions of movie goers get it. I get it. Profits are extremely important, however when a large number of customers feel that the prices are too high, they will find other ways to entertain themselves or they will just relax at home. This is the case even more so when there are competing forms of entertainment, particularly movie entertainment. Where movies are concerned, On demand and Netflix sales are increasing their bites out of the entertainment pie. As for pricing at the movies, as much as things change, they also remain the same.
Pricing has often been complained about but what's different now than from decades ago is that movies can be seen just about anywhere without going to a theater. If the pricing is getting under your skin, speak up with your wallet and take a look at other options for entertainment that are better values for your money. In many areas you can attend a baseball game, a concert, hockey game, or even a basketball game for the price of some movie outings.
Approximately one year ago there was a class action lawsuit filed by a man who lives in Michigan in the hope of ending the practice of price gouging at the movies. I think that this will not make any changes as theaters are private businesses and can run their businesses as they see fit. Nevertheless, I always cheer for the underdog.
Better ways to spend your time and money
If you're in the mood for sitting down and relaxing with a movie and the movie theater experience is not a must for you, other movies can easily be seen from the comforts of your home, computer, mobile phone, or hotel. On Demand, Amazon, Netflix, and even Blockbuster Video (how Blockbuster is still around in some areas, I do not know) are options that may save you money. In some metro areas there are also outdoor and cinema cafe options available.
For many, dinner and a movie at home can often come out to half or less than what they'd pay per person at the movies. Also, many people enjoy the convenience of being able to pause the movie when needed or being able to switch from watching the movie in one room to another room such as the bedroom. A movie theater has got nothing on that level of comfort and convenience.
If you have some extra money to spend, creating a home theater could be an option that your family and friends can enjoy for years to come and if done well, it may also boost the value of your home if you sell. Please note, this option is only recommended for those who live in single family homes. If you are in a town home, condo, duplex, or apartment or other setting where you share walls, ceilings, or floors with other people's homes, please be considerate and do not create a home theater set up if you are not willing to spend (or if your landlord won't let you) many thousands of dollars to have a high quality soundproofing job done.
If you are game for any type of entertainment, there are better ways to spend your time and money than by going to the movies. You could spend several hours at the zoo, an ice rink, roller rink, skate park, beach, lake, gym, art galleries, and many other places for about the same price per ticket or less than what you would pay at the movies. I can tell you from experience that you can even throw a birthday party at ice and roller rinks for up to ten guests for less than what you would spend with the same number of guests at the movies with concession foods.
Going to the mall, a library, parks, trails, lakes, beaches, and other places will be a savings and likely better choices for you health wise and you will be getting some exercise with many of these options rather than sitting on your duff for a couple hours. The amount of money it takes for these types of outings is minimal such as buying gasoline or paying for parking in certain areas. Still other options in your area may include going to the gym, visiting family, volunteering to help others, or just staying home and spending quality time with those you love rather than going to the movies.