How Far Will You Go to See a Movie?
Updated: Mar 22
Is it Worth the Trip?
When masks finally come off and the air is cleared, when families get to visit and hug, when restaurants are full again and air travel is worry-free, will there still be an open cineplex near you?
While we’ve gathered before flat screens isolated in the safety of our homes, movie chains and Independent theaters have quietly been shutting their doors. Stimulus packages don’t cut it when customers don't come in. Some theaters battled Covid with technology, with UV lights in their HVAC systems, plexiglass shielding concession stands, contactless ticket sales and spaced out seating. Some theaters streamed films to maintain a connection to their audience. Other theaters simply folded. The burden of maintaining both a lease and a payroll during the pandemic was just too costly.
So what happens when Covid finally lifts? When conditions improve for summer tentpole movies or Christmas releases, will there still be an open movie theater near you? It takes a community, a local patronage to support the arts. In a supply and demand economy, will movie theaters that offered a supply outlast a virus that killed our demand? After a year of home streaming, theaters want to know, "Will we return?"
There is nothing to rival the movie going experience. Beyond our living room tech we still hunger for the otherness of a dark strange dream space, that palpable moment in the crowd when anything is possible, an experience without pause buttons, an evening of anticipation and wonderment.
Movies were born when man first began to talk with words, gestures, cave paintings and fire. When the collective experience consisted of a shaman spinning a cautionary tale, a torch in a darkened field, all eyes drawn to the glow. Turn away and you might miss it, that thing that delights you, challenges you, confronts you, a dream-like state both real and unreal. So will audiences return to the movies? The answer is yes...when it’s safe, when it’s right. We'll drive further, stand in lines, buy our popcorn, and smile. Yes, for the movies we'll return with a passion…to giant screens and rumbling sound...to join all those wonderful people in the dark.