So, we’re yet again having that conversation on social media, about the sanctity of seeing movies in theathers and how it’s the only true way to see them?
Ok, let’s indulge in some fruitless arguing, as the issues are decades old and the industry won’t actually do anything about fixing them, because they won’t until there’s a distinct financial incentive to provide good movie watching experiences.
And this is just indulging, let’s be honest.
Because most people don’t care, won’t really care, ever.
Let me preface that i don’t live in America, i never had the chance to visit the Alamo Drafthouse or similar establishments, and at the moment of writing i don’t get early or exclusive press screening or curated experiences when seeing movies in the theathers.
It’s not sour grapes, it’s just a fact that i pay my tickets and by necessity i go the nearest theather chains in my part of Italy, like a peasant if you really want to put it that way, but still, i’m a regular person that goes to see movies like most of the populace does. Nothing special, for better or worse.
Let’s put aside that tickets here aren’t as expensive as they are in the US (as i understand, please do correct me if i’m wrong), the fact i do prefer seeing movies in cinemas, as i’m – like most people – less easily distracted that way, and that in my situation, i can easily and safely go see movies that way often during a month, within the fairly inevitable time and money costraints.
Done? The cinema experience is mostly propaganda by a part of the industry that doesn’t really gives a shit about said “cinema experience” or the safety of its customers.
I do remember reading of AMCs selling tickets for 15 cents DURING the first wave of COVID-19, in case you don’t, and that really makes it more clear than ever that the real money it’s not made in selling you a ticket, but in selling you overpriced junk food and drinks, the rest it’s totally ancillary, they don’t care about any semblance of etiquette, as they know cultivating a lesser shitty group of “cattle” will make less money, and it’s often not a thing that can be done by an increasingly understaffed workforce.
The staff it’s often not paid nearly enough to check in and see that the audience actually watches the movie instead of shouting bullshit all the time, laughing at anything, talking on the phone loudly, the motto its never enforcing anything, even sensible shit, anything that would make the experience better. There’s no money in improving the experience for people who actually care about it, there’s no intention to do better and try to keep the kind of audience that actually comes back, as they take it for granted.
It’s all it ever was and will be about, just profit.
Since we’re spouting such obvious and widely known stuff (that somehow doesn’t sink, so it bears repeating ad nauseam), might i remind you we’re still in a pandemic? Despite most people being forced back to work on location, because the pandemic is considered over for labor, but still ongoing for any recreative activity…. that’s NOT ultrapopular, please gather in soccer stadiums, the COVID is american enough not to really care about “european sports” like the “non-american football”.
And of course this also means a lot of productions being delayed or releases pushed back further and further, for example the recent news of Top Gun Maverick and Mission Impossible 7 being delayed to next year, because a movie really comes out once on the big screen, and studios aren’t willing to gamble it by releasing them with a pandemic situation still far from over.
This in itself it’s not “damning”, it’s just a fairly logical choice to make in this kind of business, makes sense since a lot of money it’s going to be invested in it anyway, so obviously studios want a big box office revenue, which in turn obviously makes theather chains want a lot of people packing the seats, but they don’t give an absolute fuck at HOW the experience is in said theathers, once you paid for the ticket, you can shove it up your rectum, they don’t care.
They will talk about the “magic of the cinema” when it’s convenient, sure, but it’s just lip service, they don’t wanna put work to improve the quality of the experience itself.
This is not magic, it’s just marketing and PR.
It’s no wonder on demand options are now quite the alluring propositions for anyone (critics included) that would like to watch a movie in safety, in the confort of their own homes, instead of spending time and extra money only to gamble a meager chance of NOT getting screening with uncaring, unsafe or vitriolic assholes.
There was no magic in trying to watch The Witch (or any serious horror movie) in a room full of teenagers laughing and/or shouting at anything ALL the time, and i say teenagers, but really, age is kinda pointless because the main kind of moviegoer behaves like a fuckin donkey. Not always, not all people, etc, but it’s no wonder they do because there’s no enforcing of basic (EXTREMELY basic, too boot) etiquette, people go to a movie screening expecting to basically do any fuckin thing they want after paying for the ticket, even shit on the seats, they feel entitled to basically be kings.
The average moviegoer is also often – i’m sorry, it is – quite ignorant, it’s a cliched thing to say, but i once went to see Children Of The Sea and one teacher (or something like that) decided it was a good idea to bring a whole class of sixth graders to see that one, it’s animated, it’s obviously for children by default.
I mean, “children” is in the title, must be for children, it must be.
Keep in mind that i think i got it relatively good, compared to some experiences american reviewers often tell about, especially now that the theathers here are not packed at all, so the chance of getting to see a movie in peace in a mostly empty theather are high, very high. But it’s a fleeting spout of luck and circumstance.
It’s really just that, pure luck, that’s what makes for a “magical cinema experience”, even more when you talk horror movies and the like. Absolute crapshoot.
I do like the social aspect of going to the movies, i won’t stop doing it, but don’t buy into this stupid, fundamentally snobby and privileged rethoric.
Can’t wait to write the same shit again when the argument inevitably circles back, nothing is learned, nothing is solved, we forget about it, etc.