There are hundreds of reasons why people have stopped going to the movies. Between cinematic universes being too big with zero memorable villains, origin stories that probably didn’t need explaining, and the fact that people can have just as good of a moviegoing experience in their living room, customers are avoiding theaters.
While the global market is booming, the domestic office continues a steady decline. The summer 2018 numbers are better and look fantastic compared to dismal summer 2017 box office totals. Still, theaters aren’t as packed as in years past and companies like AMC and Regal want to know what gives.
On a December episode of the “Material World” podcast on Bloomberg, hosts Lindsey Rupp and Jennifer Kaplan discussed movie theaters modernizing to meet customer demands and exactly how these companies got into this mess. The podcast is just now making the rounds online and people on Twitter are offering free suggestions to movie theater chains regarding simple changes that will get people out of the house and back into their complexes.
Here are some of the funniest suggestions along with honest reasons why people just don’t want to sit in the dark to watch movies with strangers anymore.
I speak for everyone:— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) August 5, 2018
1. Start movies on time. Trailers play before that time.
2. Ushers who stay in the theater during the movie and remove assholes.
3. Lower ticket prices. https://t.co/9odwrcLSxu
1. Only movie trailers before the movie, no commercials, no "The Twenty", no FirstLook with Maria Menounos, no "student short films" that are just about drinking Coke— Will 🦥 Menaker (@willmenaker) August 5, 2018
2. Assigned seating
3. Let me smoke weed in the theater https://t.co/WuJLxGbUeD
I don’t think the theatrical experience can be saved. I think some version of it can be saved. Museums, repertory cinemas, draft houses, special events. But the chains don’t seem to care about anything. And bad audience members feel increasingly entitled to ruin things. https://t.co/W6VIPU67df— MZS (@mattzollerseitz) August 6, 2018
Every movie being as good as "Sorry to Bother You." https://t.co/ze5YqAdGVE— Gladstone (@WGladstone) August 5, 2018
Take the dimming 3D polarizer off the projector for 2D movies.— Phil Nobile Jr. (@PhilNobileJr) August 6, 2018
Jam cell signals, and put up signs letting people know you’re doing that, so they can decide if they’re on board.
Police your theaters for noisemakers.
Clean your theaters.
Care about your theaters. https://t.co/Z9JtMLl06U
Each ticket includes a FREE small popcorn https://t.co/YVZi9CEP4p— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) August 6, 2018
closed captions that actually function https://t.co/UmWiF7ftOj— Karrie Higgins ♿️ (@karriehiggins) August 6, 2018
Too expensive for a family. Food prices are ridiculous https://t.co/eRpSfHeaxP— Greg Hemphill (@greghemphill96) August 6, 2018
-More diverse filmmakers— jordan (@JordanUhl) August 5, 2018
-New stories, fewer remakes
-More documentaries https://t.co/cPSnsGRWYj
Honestly? Boutique theaters. I don't need a big IMAX screen. Let me watch a movie in a room that fits roughly 15-20 people. Put some sofas in there. Serve pizza or ramen. Give out blankets. https://t.co/HWkYbp0tSJ— Cheryl Lynn Eaton (@cheryllynneaton) August 5, 2018
More Brendan Fraser movies. https://t.co/5qdLCL6RlY— Lights, Camera, Pod (@LightsCameraPod) August 5, 2018
And perhaps the best and most honest answer of all came from a former employee at a movie theater chain.
I used to work in a movie theater in a town with a significant blue-collar immigrant population, mostly first and second generation Hispanics and Caribbeans. These families would typically have 4-5 children.— Nathanael Hood (@NateHood257) August 5, 2018
He then broke down how much it cost for his family to see a movie.— Nathanael Hood (@NateHood257) August 5, 2018
–2 parents, $20 each
–5 kids, $15 each
That's $115 for just the tickets!
MEANWHILE— Nathanael Hood (@NateHood257) August 5, 2018
This family could take that exact same $140 dollars and buy A ONE YEAR UNLIMITED NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTION AND HAVE INFINITE ENTERTAINMENT.
This ain't the 30s anymore where a quarter could buy you a double-feature, a newsreel, and several cartoons. It's $20 a pop or you're sh!t outta luck.— Nathanael Hood (@NateHood257) August 5, 2018
The lower classes LITERALLY CAN'T AFFORD THE MOVIES ANYMORE.
Movies are too damn expensive.— Nathanael Hood (@NateHood257) August 5, 2018
And if that doesn't change, then theaters are DOOMED.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Your move, movie theater chains.