COMMENTARY | Growing up as a kid, one of my favorite weekend activities was to go to the movie theater. I would watch three or four movies a month. However, now if I see one movie a month that is a lot for me. This seems to be a growing trend. There are three primary reasons which account for the changes in my behavior.
Let's face it, seeing a movie nowadays is not cheap -- or at least not as cheap as it used to be. Movie ticket prices have been steadily growing. According to the New York Times, the average movie ticket cost $7.89 in 2010, compared to $5.06 in 1999. This number is even higher for 3-D movies and select theaters. I never go to the movies by myself and if I pay for my significant other or parent, this may double or triple the total cost. I'm not even going to discuss the food prices at the theaters. Combining these factors with the current state of the economy, I could find better uses for my money.
Maybe my tastes are too plain but I would rather see a 2-D movie rather than a 3-D movie. Don't get me wrong -- "Avatar" in 3-D was amazing, but none of the other 3-D movies I've seen have stood out enough to make them remarkably better than the same movies in 2-D. 3-D movies are being pushed a little too aggressively onto the consumer for my taste. This aggressive marketing causes there to be fewer available showtimes for 2-D movies and thus provides even less incentive for me to go to the movies.
Multitude of other mediums for movies
I don't have to go to the theater to enjoy a movie. I can turn on the TV or use my subscriptions to Redbox or Netflix to watch any movie I want without ever leaving my house. I can take this a step further and watch movies on my laptop or iPad right from my bed. These possibilities are endless -- they cost less and don't involve me ever leaving the house. Furthermore, I can always pause or rewind, eat whatever food I want and make as much noise as I want while watching the movie.
That being said, I think the only factor that theaters can control is the economic one. There will always be a market for 3-D movies and people will always want to enjoy movies from within the comfort of their homes. However, if prices for movies were to drop, I believe people would be more enticed to go back to the movies.