The Role of Movie Theaters in the 21st Century


Local Movie Theater in Folsom, CA, Palladio 16 Cinemas

Javier Damian, Staff Writer

Upon its debut, the popular movie “Captain Marvel” made upwards of 150 million dollars. By this fact, movie theaters still seem to play a significant role in the lives of many Americans. However, they are endangered by new innovations in movie-watching technology.

Movie theaters, especially in small towns, have lost popularity in the 21st century due to the plethora of streaming services and internet-based movie rental services. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others have dominated the internet age, capitalizing on the comforts of home. Will movie theaters survive in an era that is increasingly reliant on the conveniences of technology?  

“Movies have become more affordable outside of theaters which bring down customer base,” said Anna Jas, a former employee at Palladio 16 Cinemas. “Customers would rather watch from their homes at more affordable prices..” To combat this trend, movie theaters, such as this one in Folsom, have implemented new strategies to bring in customers—such as adding a wine bar and reclining seats to create a more comfortable environment in the movie theater, which they would otherwise have at home.

With these new features, theaters are creating a unique experience in the 21st century. They are breaking off from being solely a place to watch a movie and are now becoming a place to eat dinner and socialize with friends and family.

While many customers are reducing their trips to movie theaters, they still believe that going to one offers an unmatched experience. “Going to a movie theater is a lot different than watching movies at home because you’re paying for the experience, rather than just the movie itself,” said Isabella Starks, an avid movie goer.  

The fact of the matter is that movie theaters are still the only place to legally watch a movie upon its debut.

Nevertheless, theaters still have a high risk of failing in a world of innovation. The developments that have been made by movie theaters have been far and few between. Only some theaters have added unique features to stand out from the at-home experience and only very recently, while others lack the funds to renovate, leading to decreased traffic leading to the theater.

Movie theaters are here to stay for the near future, but for them to keep hold of their customer base they need to come up with unique ways to distinguish themselves from the convenience and comfort of the at-home movie experience.