On Community As The Heart Of Moviegoing – Cardinal & Cream

The last time I walked into a truly crowded movie theater was in 2011. I can vividly remember the neon lights shining bright as ever and the multitude of people that were lined up, extending into the road.

My dad and I, like everyone else, were there to see the midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” The end of the series had been long-awaited since November of the previous year.

As we walked into the lobby, hordes of people were frantically trying to get their Coke and popcorn before heading to their seats. In the theater, the room was filled with laughter and groups huddled up speculating about how the ultimate battle between Harry and Voldemort was going to end.

Every single seat in the theater was filled and we all came together for the two-hour film. I will never forget how, as the final clash was occurring, the whole crowd jumped out of their seats—not a single person wasn’t cheering.

The experience that night is what you might call a core memory. And sadly, it was one of the last times I remember a bunch of random people sitting in a theater and bonding over a big-screen movie. Now, I’m lucky if I find 10 other people in the theater. That raises the question: what happened to the community aspect of going to the movies? Is it the fact that it’s easier and maybe even cheaper to watch the movie at home? Or is it simply that the idea of ​​going to the movies is a dying art, sort of like a blockbuster?

Moviegoing has been a part of our society since the early twentieth century. It has been a way to escape, to indulge ourselves in a breathtaking story or even a mindless romcom. Yet I think a crucial part of the moviegoing experience community enthusiasm, which is becoming, is less common.

The movies used to be a place where it didn’t matter who you were, where you lived, or your social status, but that you were invited into a story on the big screen. That’s what used to be special about movie theaters, and that’s something you can’t find just anywhere.

Unfortunately, the reality is that movie theaters have been on the decline for some time now. It’s been three years since we’ve even come close to a big box office hit. I know that we have the pandemic to thank for some of the lack of movies and moviegoers, but I don’t think that’s the only reason.

Movies are now readily accessible in the comfort of our own homes, again much thanks to the pandemic, and so we see no need to actually go out. Streaming has made accessing motion pictures much easier, even offering some exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

So yes, staying at home comes with more benefits the majority of the time. But I would argue that by staying in, we are missing the whole point of a new movie: the community aspect. There is just something about the smell of buttered popcorn and the feeling of crowding into a dark room with a bunch of people you don’t know. You’re strangers to each other, but you’re sharing in an experience together, and there’s something truly special about that.

I don’t think movie theaters are dying—or at least I don’t ever want to see that day. We will always have moviegoers, and there will always be a place for movie theaters. They just might not hold the same place in our hearts as they used to.

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