Are movie theaters dying?

Photo courtesy of Netflix.

By Sophia Tejeda | Staff Writer

As streaming services offer more options to watch new releases or nostalgic reminiscences of childhood, they draw audiences away from theaters, leaving them crawling to a slow death.

Despite this, Forth Worth sophomore and film fanatic Ethan Gonzales said he still enjoys going to the movie theater with friends. He utilizes AMC’s membership that offers up to three movies a week for $20 a month.

Gonzales said he looks forward to the buttery movie theater popcorn but sometimes
opts to sneak in his own snacks to save from the expensive concessions. He admitted that movie theater pricing has increased to an expensive price point.

“It depends on how nice of a theater you go for, but it is definitely worth it to go to a nicer theater,” Gonzales said. “I like to sit in the third or fourth row, so I’m right in front of the huge screen; it’s a more immersive experience, especially with the speakers. It is better than streaming from home.”

Gonzales said he and his friends will go see a movie in theaters several times if they think it is good enough.

Yet, despite his love for the movie theater, Gonzales said he sees a decline in audience attendance at movie theaters and believes it is because of streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and more.

Hollister, Calif., freshman and film major Emma Hoffman said she also sees the movie theater industry fading away.

“It is sad; I think they are dying partly due to COVID,” Hoffman said. “It is possible they could come back, but theaters these days seem empty. Streaming is definitely taking over. It has its pros and cons. There definitely is a great benefit to watching at home, and it is more accessible for everyone. I do think that streaming will ultimately take over.”

Waco offers several theaters, including AMC on Valley Mills and Cinemark off I-35.

“I like going to the movies because it is a fun activity to do, and it makes the movie-watching experience more immersive,” Hoffman said. “It’s how the movie was made to be viewed. It is a different type of experience to watch a movie on a big screen in the theater than to watch one at home on your computer.”