Netflix is Killing the Movie Theatre Experience

by Conall Sahler ’20

We can all pretty much agree that Netflix and other home media services provide an immersive and personal way to watch and enjoy movies in the comfort of your own home, but are these home movie experiences ruining and desensitizing movie theatre audiences to view the theatre as if they were still at home?

A while ago, while watching 2019’s “IT Chapter 2”, I was completely taken aback by the audience around me. One couple in particular spent the entire movie chatting about what was on the screen and what had been left out, as if they were in their own living room with no one else around them.  Sitting back on the couch-like seats available at the AMC Rio Dine-In theatre, I could see why it was so easy for them to view this experience as nothing more than watching a movie at home

After leaving the movie, it occured to me that the rise in popularity of mobile media services creates an environment where one can view the latest block-buster films from the comfort of their own homes, and at home one is able to talk, use their phones, and pause whenever they like without bothering anybody else. With the rise of luxury movie theatre experiences, couch-like seats, food deliveries, and incredible sound systems, it is easy to see why many people would believe that they are entitled to act as if they are at home. 

This is not just an isolated incident as multiple times in the recent months I have experienced similar behaviors, whether it is from two friends heckling in the new “The Lion King” remake, or one lonesome audience member scrolling through Twitter during Tarentino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. People believe they are at liberty to do just about anything in the movie theatre.

Although this sort of behavior is common it is preventable. If people simply made a few changes to their behavior about the way they decide to view movies, everyone would benefit. If it is a movie that has just come out in theatres and someone wishes to see it, they should be allowed to view it with as minimal distractions as possible, reminding themselves that they are no longer at home and that some of the behaviors acceptable at home are simply not appropriate while in public. Another thing to consider would be whether or not a person has the attention span to keep from distracting others in a theatre, maybe it is just smarter to sit it out and wait for it to come out on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.