Over the past decade, many theaters have closed and as online streaming services grow in popularity, many fear for the future of movie theaters. But in reality, the most frequent moviegoers, millennials, are also those most likely to use streaming services. Paradoxically, frequent moviegoers actually own more technology than those who don’t frequent the cinema. Rather than replacing the theater, these services add the media consumption of today’s young adults. Despite a drop in the number of theaters, there are actually more screens than ever before.
The Affordable Luxury
In 2017, more than 1.2 billion people went to the movies. That’s more than double the number that attended major league sporting events and theme parks combined. It’s no surprise that a trip to the movies is cheaper than tickets to the NFL, but it’s more cost-effective to take a family of four to the movies every month for a year than to install a professional-quality home theater system.
- Movie Tickets for Family of 4: $90
- Monthly Movies, Annual Cost: $5,400
- Professional Home Theater: $10,000
Going to the movies isn’t just an affordable option for entertainment. Theaters are upgrading their amenities for a more luxurious movie-going experience. With adjustable recliners for comfort and full-service bars, you’re sure to have a great night out. And many theaters offer a full restaurant menu and waitstaff for dinner and a movie all in one place.
In 2017, annual box office revenues hit a record high at over $40 billion and 777 movies premiered. That’s 22% more films that just a decade earlier. Out of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time, 6 were released in the last 5 years, and 2 came out in the first half of 2018. Americans continue to head to the movies to see the next big hit.
Highest Grossing Movies
- Avatar (2009)
- Titanic (1997)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Jurassic World (2015)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Furious 7 (2015)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Black Panther (2018)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
In addition to adding more screens across the country, theaters have been upgraded from old-school film projection. More theaters are offering digital projection and 3D movies, with advancements in technology making the viewing experience more immersive.
Surround sound has been around for decades, but with Dolby Atmos, 64 separate speakers surround the viewer on all sides, including from above. This technology doesn’t just put sounds on the left or right, but lets filmmakers pinpoint where in the theater a sound should occur, and create effects that smoothly pan through multiple speakers as sounds move around the room.
Most digital screens are capable are display more color variation and contrast than their firmware allows, but Dolby Vision is fixing that. With Dolby Vision, dual laser projections show more vivid colors, brighter screens, and greater depth and contrast than ever before.
The movie theater isn’t dying, but it is changing. Learn more about movie theater tech in this infographic:
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