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

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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.

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    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.

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  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.

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    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.

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  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.

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    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 :)

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  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 =)

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    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 :)

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

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  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…..

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

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