If my senility serves me, “Closer” was the last film I saw in the theater. Although seeing films is one of the few activities that can actually relax me, I have far less time to go to the theater than I would like.
At home, while going to the movies was always a fallback for having no real plans, the high price has made it a less appealing option. In my surrounding area on Long Island, prices are in the $9 to $10 range. Most theaters in New York City have a $10 admission.
And let’s not even discuss the price of concessions. While the initial shock of the increase occurred a couple of years ago, perhaps one should now consider the implications of such a price and what it means for the film audience. Can the higher price offset a possible decrease in ticket sales?
To some, paying that much may be worth the experience of escaping one’s life for a couple hours. But one might consider those who may be far worse off and could truly benefit from such escapism but can’t afford the price.
Perhaps I’m more sensitive to such issues because I’m taking a class on Rochester’s hunger problem right now, but this is a social problem nonetheless. Are theaters going to become the opera houses of yesteryear? To whom are the theaters trying to appeal?
For better or for worse, Hollywood tries to appeal to the masses to make the most amount of money, but with prices such as they are today, our working classes may not even spend such a large amount on a film that they can rent a few months later. Furthermore, the depletion of late charges is becoming increasingly appealing. Perhaps the low-priced yet high-entertainment material behind the nickelodeon would sell more tickets.
One could argue that those that cannot or will not pay to go to a film can go to cheaper “dollar theaters,” but why must one wait to see a film just to see it at a lower price? The splurge in prices at big theaters could, however, produce a trend in the revival of little theaters, which usually exhibit deeper forms of cinema at a lower price.
Not as much noise has been made about the decline in movie ticket sales as has been made about album sales. Ultimately, the film industry could be fated to the same path as the music industry by seeing a rise in pirating and downloading movies. Although downloading has been both accused as the reason for the decline in music sales and defended after that charge, it does take sales away from the industry either way.
I will admit I’ve succumbed to illegal downloads – don’t think less of me, I felt guilty afterwards – and have found that good quality copies of films that are currently in the theaters are available online. Perhaps all the theaters can hope for now is that Apple doesn’t catch on.
Reyhani can be reached at email@example.com.