As I write this, I’ve just returned from seeing Jordan Peele’s Us. It was an unusually crowded theater for a Tuesday night, prompting the question: what gets you out of the house and into the theater? In these days of easy, proliferating streaming options in addition to all your regular physical media, home viewing is always easier, and what’s easier is always tempting. And cheaper.
But there are lots of stock reasons to make the drive and pay the price. It’s an outing–a date night, a frivolity, a break from the routine; it’s a way of showing sometimes pivotal financial support for projects that you think are important; some movies, especially when they come with a lot of ka-pow sound effects and/or Lawrence of Arabia vistas, look better on the big screen; movie houses are a cultural institution that a lot of us are glad to see stick around. (Take heart: I saw a man attending in a suit and tie, ready for a night out at the cinema in old-fashioned style. His wife was not wearing a mink stole, but she may have left in the car. The traditions of the past aren’t dead quite yet.)
There are more individual reasons, too. A fondness for artificial popcorn butter, a love of sitting in the darkness waiting for the lights to come up, a desire for a communal experience, the drive to participate in water cooler conversation.
Which of these are meaningful to you? And which of them translate, these days, to actual theater attendance? Are there various services–memberships or MoviePasses or the like–that have worked to encourage you actually going to the movie theater? And is seeing a movie in theaters a substantially better experience for you than seeing it at home, or do you actually prefer the latter?