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Theater experience is essential

Theaters in Los Angeles and New York recently reopened, meaning people can finally go out to the movies again.

Opinion by Justyn Frutiz, Staff Writer

Taking advantage of newly lifted COVID-19 restrictions throughout Los Angeles County, moviegoers go to recently reopened Universal Cinema AMC at CityWalk Hollywood in Universal City, Calif. (Photo by Jeremy Ruiz/The Valley Star)

The pandemic saw a rise in the use of streaming services, but with theaters reopening the true film experience is back and should be appreciated.

Smaller movies got more shine and some bigger films did not get the attention they should have had they been released in theaters. Movies like “Palm Springs” and “Sound of Metal” got more attention than they normally would have, due to streaming, but movies like “Soul” were overlooked due to an over saturation of the market. One film that was meant for the grand design of a theater was last years’ “Tenet.”

Director Christopher Nolan described it as a film that “I think of all the films that I’ve made, this is perhaps the one that is most designed for the audience experience, the big screen experience.”

Some films are better for first time viewing on the big screen. Certain moments have to be experienced with a crowd to really feel the weight of what is happening on screen. Films like “Avengers: Endgame,” for example, would not resonate or be as impactful if it were released behind the paywall of Disney+ and not seen with record breaking crowds. A moment like Captain America lifting Thor’s hammer for the first time was so visceral in energy-packed theaters that one can’t even imagine what it would be like on a 40-inch television alone. Even the average scary movie experience is enhanced with a crowd which is probably why a film like “IT” managed to gross a sum of $700 million worldwide back in 2017.

Technical aspects like sound design and cinematography are also better experienced on the big screen. Take the 2019 film “1917”, for example, the scale of that film and the way cinematographer, Roger Deakins shot the film. It would be a betrayal to wait to watch on one’s couch instead of theaters. Even 3-D is a technological aspect that is missed as well with many films raking in a profit just off that alone.

While being beneficial on an entertainment level, theaters are also beneficial on an economic level. The film industry is big and the bigger box office a movie receives the more opportunities a creator and their crew will get as a result.

This includes opportunities with either a big sequel or big budget projects elsewhere. The theaters themselves offer over 150,000 jobs when operating at full capacity. Streaming doesn’t provide the same kind of boost.

While theaters were closed during the pandemic, streaming services were used by adults 71 percent more than in 2019, according to the BBC. Another wrinkle brought about during the pandemic was when Warner Brothers announced their entire 2021 slate would be released on both HBO Max and theaters simultaneously.

Some theaters reopened in California last week while some are opening in April. The first new big release that people will be able to see is "Godzilla vs Kong" releasing March 31 on both HBO Max and in theaters.

Watching a film at home may be easier but do not underestimate the experience one can have in a movie theater with enormous screens, surround sound and the energy from fellow movie goers.


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