Streaming options and mobile devices make viewing movies easier, but are theaters still better?
Creed 3, The Super Mario Brothers Movie and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery can now be easily seen in the comfort of a home on major streaming services, such as Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. Soon to be seen on the big screen, Oppenheimer, The Flash, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will have to be seen on the big screen, but only a few weeks after premiering they will be seen on regular streaming services.
Does it make a difference where you watch a movie?
“There’s some movies that are so much better experienced with people,” said Nicholas Freeman, Minnehaha’s theater director, film a photography teacher, and professional actor. “It’s kind of like live theater, and that the experience of seeing, absorbing and taking a story together with a group of people is more powerful and aesthetically rich than just sitting alone in front of a TV.”
There is nothing wrong with watching a movie at home, but many, including Freeman, believe watching a movie at home isn’t as enjoyable. At the theater, you can also enjoy popcorn and the big screen.
In addition to those luxuries, going to theaters allows friends and family to connect.
“I watch movies at the theater because first of all, it’s a bigger screen,” first-year Adela Dubord said, “but also it’s easier to be with friends at the theater because of a better environment.”
Something about the movie theater can also sprout meaningful experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
“Me and my friend went to see the new Minion movie because that was just a big thing,” sophomore Ben Noble said. “We grabbed a cart of 3D glasses, and we started wheeling them up the aisles at the movie theater and giving them to people. We weren’t supposed to give them out, and also it wasn’t a 3D movie, but everybody started off wearing 3D glasses because of us.”
Memories like Noble’s devious act can’t be replicated in the comfort of your home. There are so many features that a theater of any sort will give compared to watching a movie on your phone.
Just the experience of walking in the theater can make a difference in your movie-watching experience. For some, watching a movie in a theater has its own rituals.
“You walk in and then you get your ticket and you get to check with one of the guys on the phone,” said first-year Ben Hobbs. “Then you go in line for snacks, and then you get in another line to receive your snacks, then you walk to the theater.”
Hobbs watches movie premieres at the theater once every couple of months, mainly to say he was one of the first but also for the perks a theater has over watching one at home.
“They have new movies that aren’t on your phone and I probably haven’t seen them, and you got popcorn and you got the reclining seats at every AMC theater on the big screen,” Hobbs said.
On the other hand, some believe that popular movie theater megaplexes shouldn’t be praised as much as they are.
Independent theaters should be noticed as well.
“The Lagoon shows a lot of independent movies, which allows me to view more movies that I wouldn’t necessarily think to go see, like oh my goodness, John Wick 4!” said first-year Dylan Lennick said. and just watch other movies that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to see.”
Independent theaters, such as the Riverview Theater, the Lagoon Cinema and The Main Cinema, all in Minneapolis, and the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, will show fan-favorites and new releases, including Marvel movies.
All of these cinemas are within 20 minutes of driving distance from Minnehaha; as well. What makes independent theaters different from megaplexes is their range of programming, giving independent movies a chance to thrive and classic movies a return to the big screen.
“I just saw a new Joaquin Phoenix [Beau Is Afraid] movie coming out,” Freeman said. “It’s an A24 film.“
A24 is an independent movie studio that has produced many fan-favorite and award-winning movies.
As stated in the New York Times, “The studio [A24] behind Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Whale became the first to sweep the acting awards and win best director and best picture in the same year.”
This shows that every good movie isn’t just produced by studios like Disney and Netflix, which may have tons of money for special effects, design and advertising, but A24 works with younger, less-established directors and focuses on parts of society that aren’t mainstream.
They are most known for their horror films and twisted plot lines.
“I just watched the trailer [with Joaquin Phoenix] last night,” Freeman said, “and I thought to myself, ‘I’m not seeing this at home. I’m going to a movie theater to experience this movie.'”
Phones are becoming more and more popular as a method to watch any feature film desired, with the rise of many streaming services allowing for many more films to be watched by the public
“I think [streaming services] are great in the fact that it allows more movies to be made,” Freeman said. “There’s a lot more content out there than what there ever was when I was acting and living in Los Angeles in the ’90s.”
Streaming services also give directors more chances to express themselves and even for the audience to find out what films truly bring them joy.
Streaming services also allow an opportunity to give directors feedback and a chance to share with the world what they truly enjoy and believe.
“Streaming services have opened up the floodgates for possibilities for people to share stories,” Freeman said. “People can find content that they really like and connect to, so I love it and it’s nothing but great.”