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January 25, 2012


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I usually see anywhere from 3-5 movies a year in the theater. Yes, going to movies in the theater can be expensive but my city (midwest) has some of the top movie theaters in the country - one of which is only a few miles from where I live and has an IMAX 3D theater with 600+ seats. It's set up so there's not a bad seat in the house. With the right movie, you can't get that experience anywhere or anyway else. The seats are comfortable and recline and there is plenty of leg room so you are not disturbed too much if someone needs to walk in front of you.

The last movie I saw in the theater was Avatar in 3d. That is how frequent I go to the movies.

I would probably go more often if the prices were cheaper and something actually good came out.

I love watching movies, but hate going out to the theater as the distractions make it hard to enjoy the film. Instead, I built my own theater (avsforum member). I have a 106" screen with masking capability and the picture and sound quality are better than any commercial theater I have been to. As prices on equipment have dropped, it has become much more affordable and can be done for a reasonable price if you have basic handy skills.

Generally, with Hollywood, the price has gone up and the quality has gone down.

I'm more content renting movies later on down the road when I can filter what was really good / thought-provoking cinema versus what was garbage.

We enjoy going to the movies with friends, usually following dinner so that we actually get a chance to interact with them too. My first thought, though, was "where are these $8 theaters?" In Southern California, most of the multiplexes charge $11 or $12, and $15 for 3D. We generally get movie tickets from family for Christmas, so it's rare that we end up paying out of pocket to go - and even when we do, we can get discounted tickets in advance from Costco or various promotions, which takes a bit of the bite out.

I enjoy the occasional movie - but we have to add in the cost of a babysitter as well. For us its probably about getting out of the house. But we probably go once a year - IF that often. Usually we would rather pay the 2.99 to stream the movie from Amazon, if its something we really want to see. (Which has probably only happened twice, now that I mention it).

My wife and I enjoy going to the movies. We used to do it a lot more and would go out probably 2 times a month on average. Lately though we've stopped going simply because we haven't found the time. We've only been to a couple movies in the past 6 months.

Going to the movies is a 'night out' for us. So its more a matter of going somewhere and doing something. Staying at home and watching a DVD is not 'going out'. There are other options for 'going out' but for us movies are one of the cheaper choices compared to the other 'night out' activities and their costs in our area.
For example : bowling costs us more than the movies.

We enjoy the movies and don't consider it a hassle. I purposefully avoid opening weekend if I can help it and we go to a theater that usually isn't too busy. If we went to the busy theater on opening night then it would be a pain, so I don't do that.

Side comment - The quoted bit says: "Movie theaters tend to be so sterile and bland .." I don't understand that complaint. Is she complaining that the interior design of the theater isn't to her liking? And does that matter enough to change how much she'd pay for tickets? To me a 'bland' movie theater shouldn't be a problem since I'm there to see a movie not admire their drapes.

Three years ago we installed a projector, hooked to a DVD player, sound system, and PC. It projects 100+" of anything on DVD or streamed shows (from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or network website). We almost never go to the movies. The whole set up was less than $1K and we love it.

I agree with Jim above about the "bland" comment; was the author expecting to see a knife fight break out?

I enjoy going to the movies, and the costs don't necessarily keep me away (I'm also a frequent attender of live theatre productions, and the costs there are much higher). I justify the expense from the stand point that I'm developing myself as a scholar of drama (pretentious though that may sound), and so time spent at movies or the theatre improves the range of my understanding on drama.

That said, there are plenty of movies that I wait to see on DVD.

In general, though, I think the primary appeal of going to the movies is the immersive experience that comes with seeing it at a big screen. We want to feel like the film was made solely for us. The presence of other people complicates that, obviously. Though it's easy to complain about not wanting to be bothered with other people's noise, I would argue that, on some level, the director intended for his work to be put on in a crowded movie house filled with people being people. People talking on the phone is irritating, but how much have your viewing experiences been helped by others in the crowd laughing at a joke, for instance. Seeing and understanding what people will react to is part of the movie-going experience to me.

$8 does not sound like a matinee price. Where do they live?

Movies can be more affordable but you have to know when to go. Tickets at my local theater are discounted on certain weekday afternoons, on weekend mornings, and some holidays. Sometimes it's for shows before 6pm, or 12pm or 11am--seems like they're always changing the days and times so you have to check often. There are also discounts for senior citizens and students. If you want to take your kids and can find enough parents/kids who want to go as well, how about asking for a group discount?

And for anyone who doesn't like the quality of Hollywood movies these days, support foreign/independent films when they come to your area. That's how you demand better quality movies.

Correction. I went to the three stooges film festival at the old Redford Theater in Detroit. We saw 6 three stoges shorts and had a blast of a time. The whole theater was full of people who love the stooges and we were all laughing at the same things. It was an awsome experience. They have an old pipe organ that someone plays at intermission and you can streatch your legs and get refreshement. The theater is old and has character unlike the bland boxes they have now.

And the price was only $8 per person and popcorn and pop was not too bad of a price.

Of course we went to the afternoon showing seeing that the neighborhood is not the best at night.

I’m happy to wait for movies - but we do occasionally go to a theatre. We use a discount theatre that charges $0.75/ticket for 3 or more tickets on Mondays, and charges $1/ticket on Wednesdays. Even though that’s only $3-$4 for our family we don’t go that often as there are a lot of good movies that are just a few years old that we haven’t gotten around to seeing. We are never really hurting for a movie to watch, and there are a lot of DVDs that are available for free at the library. A movie has to have real appeal to pull us into the theatre.

-Rick Francis

I think it also depends on the movie. For me something like Avatar on the big screen is much better than Avatar on a TV screen. But a movie like Horrible Bosses on a big screen isn't significantly better viewing experience then my living room.

Melissa, does $8 for a matinee seem high to you?
Thats a typical price here. I think regular full price is more like $9-10. 3D is even more.

Rick makes a good point, the discount theatres are probably the more frugal way to go out to the movies. Ours are $3-4 per ticket for month old movies.

I love this blog . But pls stop writing "just sayin...". YOur writing is too good for that.

I can't remember when we last went to a movie theater, it has been such a long time.

However my wife and I are diehard NETFLIX fans and have the 4 DVDs/at home plan so we are never without something great to watch. It's fantastic for retirees and the greatest invention since 'sliced bread', what I particularly like is having thousands and thousands of films and "Made for TV" movies to select from. I also like being able to read what other viewers have to say about a movie I am contemplating adding to our queue, or to perform searches on actors, actresses or a particular genre. NETFLIX also has some very sophisticated software that uses the information from all of the movies that you have rated to give suggestions on other ones that you may like. When you put all of this information together and gain experience in using it the result is that everything we watch is either 5 stars or 4 stars and we totally avoid all the duds.

A side benefit is that the NETFLIX headquarters is a next day mailing for us because it's only a few miles away. After watching a movie, we nip up to the Post office, pop it in the drive by mailbox before the last pickup at 6pm, they get it and mail a new one the next day, which we receive the following day.

Why would anyone want to drive to a movie theater several miles away when they can relax in their own recliner after lunch, darken the room, turn on the cheery fireplace insert if it's a cold day, get a nice cup of tea, enjoy the movie in comfort, and be able to "pause" it whenever necessary. As you might imagine we are also partial to many of the British movies and TV series that are never available at the movie theaters. Most of the new releases are genres that we don't like now that we are 77 & 78 so we don't miss movie theaters one iota.

We don't go to the movies too often for 3 reasons:

1. Movie quality is poor in my opinion as the focus is on special effects rather than content.
2. 20 to 30 minutes of previews (which by the way show the whole plot of a movie leaving no surprise) are painful.
3. Cost for a family of 5 is too much. We can find better entertainment for much cheaper.
4. DirecTV, Red Box, the Internet and Netflix offer much better options.

Does anyone else thing the previews are just too much?


Yes, I consider $8 expensive for a matinee, but now I realize that because I always go to earliest show and I haven't paid matinee price in years.

Regular price at my local AMC is $10, but there is special pricing Monday-Thursday: $5 before 6pm, $7.50 after 6pm. Friday-Sunday is $5 before noon. I usually go Sunday morning because the theater is very empty and peaceful.

There are deals to be had, you just have to check your theater.

I *rarely* go to the movies, and would never go, if not for meeting up with good friends once in a blue moon (ie, once a year), who all decide they want to go.

To me, going to the movies is a waste of money. I'm stuck in a theatre with a bunch of screaming kids, and adults who are yapping while I'm trying to watch the movie.... I can't pause the movie when I have to use the restroom.... I don't have my fridge full of food in the theatre....I don't have a comfortable seat, and usually, some tall person sits in front of me. MISERABLE!

Watching movies at home is so much nicer. Comfy chair, peace and quiet, tons of food in the fridge, and I can pause the movie if I need to leave. Plus, I can multi-task if I want to by watching movies while doing work.

I get my movies from Netflix... only $7.99 a month for all the movies I can possibly watch (I don't even need a TV...I simply watch on my computer). I can't think of a better deal!

I go to the movies sometimes with friends. I like the communal experience and getting out of the house. I'm single with no kids. I think there's a difference between what works for single folks and what works for kids. When you have kids, going out to the movies is probably more hassle than it's worth. I try to stay away from the overpriced popcorn, though....although I don't always succeed.

I am more than annoyed at how rude people can be with their cell phones, though...but it's not enough to make me stop going.

It's the experience of going to the movies that makes it worth it. The entire movie experience is designed to be experienced in a theater with sound that shakes your bones and a screen the size of a house. The communal response of laughing or crying with an entire crowd is part of the experience. Have you ever watched a movie by yourself, not thinking it was funny, but laughed yourself silly when you watched it with a group of people? I have. Also, when a scene is so powerful or suspenseful that it keeps a room of 500 in complete silence, that makes it that much more suspenseful. Yes, the context of the theater has changed (cell phones, prices), but I think most directors would say their vision is best experience in the theater.

That being said, I never buy snacks at the theater, don't really go with our kids, and often go to matinees to lower the price.

Also, I think Jim is right - there are some movies where the experience isn't as important. Watching Avatar in 3D or Imax versus 2D at home on your 5 watt speakers - it's a completely different experience. I saw Avatar twice in the theater, once 2D, once in 3D, and that was a completely different experience.

The next Batman movie - a must see in theaters!

We like seeing movies in the theater, but only go maybe 6-8 times a year. At a "normal" theater, we only see action movies that benefit from the big screen and surround sound. I do like to see independent films and we have a great local theater that is beautiful and cheap so that's where I go for those.

We pretty much only see matinees in any case. And we buy movie popcorn maybe once a year, so the overall cost is not bad.

Two things are causing me to go to fewer and fewer movies. The first is the awful number of commercials played before the feature, and the second is that I find the volume much, much too loud. I wonder if they turn the volume up because so many Amercans are hard of hearing? I wonder what volume movies are played at in other countries. Anyone know?

My wife and I go to movies about 2 times a month (assuming there are movies we want to see). We get Groupons for $5 a movie ticket so it's not very expensive. (buy like 10 tickets when they appear on groupon) Though I can imagine that for a family of 4+ it wouldn't be worth it.

texashaze nailed it.

Hollywood has overemphasized special effects and de-emphasized actual plot/storytelling/acting quality in recent years to the point where, unless you just love non-stop explosions, much of what they put out is almost unwatchable. It's like they geared everything for Beavis and Butthead.

And the previews are also way out of control. It used to be maybe two or three quick previews that took a total of five minutes or so. Now you must sit through as many as eight or nine previews which may take as much as 25 minutes. And the previews show the key points of the movie.

As a note Redbox is $1.20 a movie now here where I live.

I rarely go to the movies. When I did, I thought the previews were too long. Too many and too much giveaway in the preview. I felt like I had already seen the movie. Remember when trailers were shorter and left you wondering and wanting to see more (like actually wanting to see the movie when it came out)?

I have Netflix now, but they have started putting previews in before the movie too. Sometimes I can skip past them and sometimes I can't. Or I can just start the DVD and then do some last minute stuff at home while I am waiting for the part where I can push "PLAY MOVIE" to begin.

I like watching documentaries and foreign films (and older ones too) and Netflix is great for that.

I go out to the movies about 5 times/yr, mostly with my kids. They like the experience of going "out" to the theater, and getting popcorn & snacks is part of the experience. I always smuggle bottled water in my bag however because I think the cost of water or fountain drinks at the theater is beyond ridiculous. We typically attend a matinee showing which in my town is $5/ticket. The movie itself typically isn't worth it, but as an "event out with family", it's OK.

I won't take the family to 3D movies because of the extra cost and because I think we wouldn't enjoy the 3D experience anyway. (We all wear glasses and my daughter often gets migraines even from watching TV--the last thing I need is a fun family event that gives her a vomiting 12 hr migraine!)

The movies themselves are typically ho-hum. We rarely go to the theater to watch a specific movie--Harry Potter films were exceptions of course. Mostly we are bored & just want to go do something, so we watch whatever is showing and it's usually forgettable. So hard to understand why Hollywood won't spend money on writers to put together a decent story line!

The 3 movie theaters in my town of approx 100K people are all chain multiplexes, all showing the same exact wide release movies--boring. The buildings & decor are depressing and much of the time the actual projection is sub-par. The last movie I went to, I had to go out of the theater and get someone to fix the projection because the movie started but there was no sound for 5-10 min! Apparently there was no projectionist.

Stuff like this, the outrageous snack costs, & the commercials make me feel like a prime chump for wasting my money going to the theater to see a movie. If I didn't have kids I wouldn't bother.

Occasionally there's a movie we do want to see (Hugo for example) but then when we get around to going to the theater it's already gone so then we just wait until it's available online or on DVD & we watch it at home. We'd go to see movies more often if there were more good movies, and if the good ones were in the theaters longer than 1 week.

I do hate the commercials that they force you to watch before the movie--very irritating! IMO, if they are going to show commercials, the movie should be free. It's insulting that they expect you to pay for commercials. I don't mind the previews though--they're usually as enjoyable as the actual movie.

We have a large screen TV at home and we watch many recent movies on purchased DVDs ($10-20) or rented through itunes ($4.99). Just about any old movies are abundantly available on used DVDs sold for $2 each at thrift stores or pawn shops in my area, or we buy the DVD from Amazon for around $5. Much cheaper than going out to the theater.

I can't remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater. I've been going to the library for dvds for years.

Last one I saw in a theater was Avatar in 3D. ..because we had to see it in 3D. Other than that, I love home, food in the fridge and the pause button lets me be in control. Save my gas and my money.

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