Is seeing films at cinemas worth the price?

Is seeing films at cinemas worth the price?

Last night I took my wife and daughter to the local Event cinema to see Captain America: Civil War. I loved the film but…

Let’s see, where should I start?

Price! Two adults and one child cost me $70 for the tickets alone. We did see it in VMAX. VMAX is supposedly a bigger and better screen, with better chairs and a better experience. Ummmmmm… Yes, the chairs were better but that was the only improvement that I really could feel. But $70! The question I ask is “was it good value?”

I guess value is based upon the variables cost and expectation. I expect that for $70 I will get an immersive experience of the film. But I did not. Someone whipped out their iPad and the light distracted me. No cinema attendant came to stop them. I had to glare and hiss at the culprit. The person behind me was crunching away on chips and several people in nearby seats kept whispering. At least a couple of times mobile phones were switched on. It was really distracting.

Years ago, when I was a kid, tolerating the behaviour of those around us was part and parcel of seeing a film a year or so before it hit television (yep – I predate the video era). But now I have a giant high definition television in my own lounge room. I have five speakers and a subwoofer set up around my viewing area. With a Blu-ray player, AppleTV, BigPond movies and Foxtel my home experience is so much superior to what I experienced last night. My home experience is also so much cheaper. The only difference is that I have to wait a few months before I can see films at home. And that can be frustrating if I don’t want spoilers.

Will I ever go to the cinemas again?

Probably but not often. Mostly if friends want us to go with them. But I know that I won’t enjoy it as much as I can at home.

So no, in my opinion going to a cinema to see a film is no longer value for money.

Can cinemas do anything to change my mind?

I think that they really need to enforce considerate behaviour if they intend to charge that much. If not, then prices should be lowered to something more reasonable – perhaps half the current prices. $35 for an evening film viewing for a family? Yep – good value. But $70? No way!

I would be interested to hear your opinions on this.

Greg

11 Comments


  1. I agree and rarely go see films at the cinema anymore. It has to be something I’m really anxious to see, going with friends, or I feel would benefit from the large screen experience. I don’t have quite as large a television as you, nor as nice a sound system, but even so, I just prefer watching at home most of the time. As you say, going out is expensive and many of the patrons are rude. When I’m at home, I can hit pause if I want a restroom break, or a snack, and not miss any of the film. What’s more, my couch is far more comfortable than even the best theater seating I’ve experienced.


    1. Exactly! And I can especially relate to the pause button idea, even the rewind. And the expense of cinema! I still cannot get over the cost.


  2. I agree with you, Greg. People seem to be oblivious to those around them and, although I don’t think they mean to be rude, they are. Or perhaps I should say inconsiderate. The second thing that bothers me is that the volume is so loud it almost hurts your ears. Even with my hearing aids out, I sill find it too loud.


    1. Hi Diane, I am sure you are right. I don’t think those people mean to be rude. Alas we just live in a culture now where mobile phones and tablets are in constant use, whether it be in restaurants, at dinner parties, on trains, etc.


  3. In spite of the cost, in spite of noisy neighbors, I still love going to the cinema. There’s nothing like seeing a movie on the big screen with a good sound system. Watching on an iPad or a laptop or a TV just doesn’t compare.


    1. Hi Ken :) Until recently I would have agreed. My current high def television is 66 inches. As I said, I have a great sound system with a subwoofer that really gives life to deep sounds and explosions. And I turn off every light in the room to have that immersive experience. But maybe I am just becoming an intolerant grumpy old man in my 50s :)


  4. To me, the question is: are the movies themselves worth watching at all? I am personally biased towards more “complex” stories – as a reader, I much prefer a novel to a short story (and I am not averse to a series of novels either), because character development is what interests me the most, and (good) novels will also weave in some sort of changes in the political/social landscape. So as a “viewer” (is this the right word?), I gravitate towards TV shows for the sheer reason of their length. A movie is a short story; a good TV series season is closer to a novel (not a huge one, though).
    If I want a sonic experience, I will go to a concert. Storytelling can survive without bombastic explosions IMO. Good storytelling, again =)


    1. I tend to agree with you about preferring longer, more complex tales. This said, sometimes films can be a real delight. I did enjoy Captain America: Civil War and felt that the length was about right. And yes, story telling can survive without bombastic explosions :)


      1. There do exist great short stories out there, movie or book format =)


  5. I rarely***** go to a movie theater – in part because the nearest one to me is 50 miles away, but mostly because I’m not a ‘movie’ person. [I don’t have tv – just books and internet and no, I don’t watch tv or movies on the internet. The last time I saw a movie was ‘Lincoln’ – Doug and I saw it near his place (a good long stroll to the nearest movie theater) and only because he’s a history nut.] Is it worth it? For me, it’s a date rather than the movie. By the time we’ve been to the movies and had hot dogs and popcorn and a soda, we can go to the local sushi bar and have a meal, 2 beers and a conversation. It’s less stressful than a nailbiting action movie…..


    1. Fair enough :) 50 miles! That is some way.

Comments are closed.