Going to the movies has changed for the better since ‘80s

posted by Michael Zoldessy on March 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

Rich Copley of the Herald-Leader argues that theaters have changed for the better in the past 30 years. While we’re not building single-screen palaces, he claims the cinema experience has vastly improved from the chopped up multiplexes of the 80’s.

How would you compare the two eras?

Comments (7)

MPol
MPol on March 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I don’t think there’s been any improvement at all since the 1980’s in the moviegoing experience. Home entertainment has all but killed the movie business on the long run. With the advent of multiplexes, most of the smaller, more independent, non-profit movie theatres have been driven out of business, and, with some new (but RARE) exception, the multiplex cinemas not only play much schlockier films that’re overfilled with “blue” language, explicit sex and over the top graphic violence, but they seem to be dumping grounds for rude teens and pre-teens whose parents want them out of their hair for afew hours and can’t get a sitter, and who constantly text, talk on their cellphones, and, are, in general, quite rude.

If anything good has come, however, there are some multiplex cinemas who’re playing digitally-restored older classic films once a week, and that’s a good start. One can only hope that other multiplex cinemas catch onto this great idea, especially since digital projection is the wave of the future.

MPol
MPol on March 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I don’t think there’s been any improvement at all since the 1980’s in the moviegoing experience. Home entertainment has all but killed the movie business on the long run. With the advent of multiplexes, most of the smaller, more independent, non-profit movie theatres have been driven out of business, and, with some new (but RARE) exception, the multiplex cinemas not only play much schlockier films that’re overfilled with “blue” language, explicit sex and over the top graphic violence, but they seem to be dumping grounds for rude teens and pre-teens whose parents want them out of their hair for afew hours and can’t get a sitter, and who constantly text, talk on their cellphones, and, are, in general, quite rude.

If anything good has come, however, there are some multiplex cinemas who’re playing digitally-restored older classic films once a week, and that’s a good start. One can only hope that other multiplex cinemas catch onto this great idea, especially since digital projection is the wave of the future.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on March 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Definitely much better today. Stadium seating, comfortable seats, wider range of options at the concession stand. All vast improvements over the shoebox auditoriums of the 80’s or the old theaters with a wall down the middle to add additional screens.

JohnRice
JohnRice on March 15, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Movie theaters did indeed reach bottom in the 1970’s & 1980’s with those 2-4 screen shoebox theaters that seemed to be springing up everywhere in the malls and suburbs while at the same time putting the remaining downtown first run houses out of business or forcing them to turn to porn or schlock to survive. Small auditoriums, compromised aspect ratio screens, no screen curtains, mono sound, all big negatives when compared to the movie palaces and even neighborhood houses in my humble opinion! When the VCR’s arrived many of us realized we might as well just stay home and wait for the video.

There was no way to go but up and admittedly today’s stadium multiplexes are an improvement with comfortable stadium seats, good leg room and generally good sound and picture. Not that everything is now perfect with nobody up in the booth to oversee the frequently imperfect presentation and concession stands that make you take out a second mortgage for a small popcorn and Coke. Don’t get me started on cell phone talkers & texters & other barbarians in the audience…but yeah I have to say that things are better theater wise than they were back in the those dark days.

Now with HDTV, satellite, pay per view, Blu-ray, Netflix, Red Box, etc. it again be comes a question as to whether it’s worth it to brave today’s admittedly improved but still lacking multiplexes or just stay home and enjoy your home theater. You’re just looking at blown up video in most theaters nowadays anyway! Now if you want to bring back 70mm and give me a “Lawrence of Arabia” type experience I might get more excited about going to the movies again. As a realist I of course fully realize that ain’t gonna' happen!

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Definitely better back then. Very few single screen theatres still exist and it is nearly impossible to find one with a balcony anymore. I can’t stand stadium seating because it is so far from the screen, so I typically do not go to any newer cinemas.

rayman29
rayman29 on March 19, 2013 at 11:05 am

I was not alive in the 80s, so I have no first hand experience. To me, a modern multiplex needs to be clean, comfy and up to date, with carpet that isn’t stained, or worn out seats. The staff needs to be friendly, and the screen needs to be big enough. I personally prefer digital projection because I can always see splices when watching film, and think the quality of film is too unpredictable. I do hate how the switch is threatening independent theaters. I prefer to go to older one screen theaters, but those keep getting harder to find. Being in the midwest, I have been to a few surviving small town theaters, and hope to go to more this year. I also hope to see a movie at a drive inn this summer.

MPol
MPol on March 22, 2013 at 12:55 am

You’ve made some good points, trollguy, John Rice and Roger Katz. When I went to see Lawrence of Arabia at the AMC in Downtown Boston, and then, more recently, a screening of the digitally-restored and remastered version of the film West Side Story at the Cinemark Cinema out in Hadley, Ma (a 2-hour drive west from Boston), both of those theatres had very comfortable stadium seating. Stadium seating is a boon, because one ends up looking directly at the movie screen, rather than the backs of people’s heads, while viewing the movie.

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