The ultimate cinematic decline

Out of all the streaming services available, Netflix is by far one of the most popular and well known. Netflix not only has thousands of movies available but also many fan favorite shows.

Photo courtesy of: Pxfuel

Out of all the streaming services available, Netflix is by far one of the most popular and well known. Netflix not only has thousands of movies available but also many fan favorite shows.

Imagine it’s a Friday night and you and your best friend are heading into the theater that is showing your all time favorite movie. The lights are dim, the room smells like popcorn and you have in your hand a delicious, yet overpriced, box of candy.

Now imagine a world where this does not exist. For the past year and a half, movie theaters have been closed to the public and are just now reopening due to the pandemic. After losing millions in revenue, these struggling staples of our community are closing with no intention to open back up.

With fear of the pandemic, necessary protocols have turned thousands of families away and onto other, safer pastimes. Many families have no intention of going back to the theaters once it is safe and it shows through theater profits. In 2021, domestic ticket sales are down 38 percent from 2020. 

With a lack of interest in returning to the movies, people have looked on to a more popular, and widely successful way to watch their favorite shows: streaming services. If you’re like most people, chances are you either subscribe to or know of services such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max and many others. 

These services charge a monthly rate per customer and allow the user to stream multiple movies and shows at a time, watching at their own pace and peace. In 2020 alone, amidst the heart of the pandemic, streaming service subscriptions grew by almost 50 percent. Nothing has ever rivaled movie theaters quite like the world of streaming services and it doesn’t look like they are going to back down.

During lockdown, production companies such as Warner Media and Disney have started releasing movies onto streaming platforms around or at the same time they drop in theaters. In the first month of lockdown in March of 2020, AMC stock prices dropped by 58 percent while dozens of streaming services skyrocketed.

Many wonder why companies like Disney are dipping into two different bowls, but there is really only one answer: profit. Even though movies make a tremendous amount of money through theaters, why wouldn’t directors push to have two flows of income at once?

Even though streaming services don’t provide the same amount of profit as a movie theater does for a release, companies are still making money. Box Office movies reach a majority of their gross income within the first 38 days so dropping movies onto streaming services even a month after a release does not really hurt the film at all.

During lockdown, production companies such as Warner Media and Disney have started releasing movies onto streaming platforms around or at the same time they drop in theaters.”

The already wounded theaters like AMC and Cinemark not only have to make up for the profit lost during the pandemic but are now competing with the very companies they work with to get people through their doors and into the rows.

This may scare many people but for Bennett Ormsbee, ‘23, the theater will always be an option. “If it’s at the movie theaters, they don’t have shows [television]… but when new movies come out, I want to be there to watch them.” 

Though Ormsbee acknowledges the increase in streaming movies, when the price is worth the experience, he believes that theaters will be able to bounce back. 

In a survey of 103 WHHS students and staff, 53.4 percent watch movies or television shows more than 4 times a week while 68.9 percent don’t even go to the theaters once a month. 

Even as early as 2017, ticket sales have been losing in the war against streaming services. The decline has gone somewhat unnoticed but with the pandemic’s rise, the inevitable fall of theaters has caved in.