Where have all the Theaters Gone…

Oh, the good ole days! I was reading the newspaper (you know, that rolled up paper thing they use to deliver to your house?) the other day, and came across an article about all the innovations coming to your local Mega Multi-Plex Theater. The movie industry has discovered a threatening trend that has them shaking in their boots. More about that in a minute…

As a kid, I would spend the entire Saturday afternoon at the local, one screen, beautiful movie theater, enjoying, a matinee which kept me entertained until mom picked me up or I road my bike home in time for dinner, 1961. First a stop at the local Drug Store, grabbed a bag of six nickel candy bars for a quarter (you know the ones that were bigger than the $2.00 one you buy today!) and settled in for an opening cartoon or two, a serial update of Flash Gordon, maybe a live magic show on stage, a quick bathroom break and onto the double feature (all for $.35)! The house was packed with screaming kids as the HUGE red velvet curtain opened to begin the show. The slightly, stadium/slanted rows of red velvet seating made viewing enjoyable and spacious. Oh, what great memories of the Venice, CA Fox Theater (today an indoor swap meet!).

Fast forward to today and what has happened to the theater/movie going experience? You know well what I am about to describe. Mega buildings consisting of 16 to 24 screens, some the size of a large home theater, cheap, uncomfortable, vinyl or “pleather,” hot, sticky, Chinese made, so-called recliners (who designed these things?). While entering the room, you are bombarded with commercials for Coke, local merchant’s cheesy spots and an array of propaganda, movie making ads and more commercials. Followed by 20 minutes of Previews of the latest CGI special effects, apocalyptic movies, totally destroying the world! Or, the 5th sequel of some Superhero DC or Marvel/Disney money making drivel! “Nothing new under the Sun!” The creepy voice says, “Please silence your cell phone,” and the feature is about to begin… For Father’s Day, the family convinced me I needed to see, “Wonder Women.” Two hours and twenty-one minutes that could have been done in ninety, of excruciating violence, movie magic and no surprise ending (the hero saved the world, Thank God, who knew?). Sorry for venting!

So, what am I getting to? The movie industry has tried every trick in the book, every special effect, sound processing, multi-channel surround speaker system, 3D visual technological magic and even butt shacking motion seating to fill the seats! So why is attendance falling and theaters closing? Well, maybe the $10 ticket price, the $8 popcorn and $5 soda, or the having to buy your tickets on-line and hope the seating chart program got it right! How about the arguing family behind you, kicking the back of your seat or talking through the entire movie? OH, but wait, they now are upping the price, opening breweries/hard liquor and serving sushi and a plethora of other esoteric entrees. Special seating sections with love seats (I don’t need to see that, get a room!) table side service, valet parking, etc.!! Forget the $10 ticket price, it is now approaching $20 – $30+ for these amenities! WHO NEEDS THIS?

I think the big reasons that theaters are failing are; we are sick and afraid of crowds, tired of the public arenas where anything goes, spending $100 to take the family to a simple big screen experience and have discovered that this can simply be done at home! Like all things electronic, the prices of large screen home theaters have become insanely affordable! When large flat screens where in the stratosphere price range, they were for the, “Rich and Famous” only. But like the fax machine (my first one cost $3000), CD players, DVD players, etc., a huge Flat screen today is one eighth the price of what they were 22 years ago (I was selling one of the first 42” plasma TVs back then for $18,000)! Speakers, amplifier/receivers and video playing devices have plummeted along with screens and projectors.

The public movie theater will go the way of the dinosaur no matter what they do next! As high-speed networks increase their ability to stream everything direct to you in a nanosecond, you will need no equipment except your internet connection, your remote control and every movie, sporting event, concert, series, video game, shopping channel (Amazon will own the world), and necessity will be at your finger tips and deliver to your door/TV screen!

The Home Theater industry is exploding while the public theaters are closing or gouging you! For a small investment, you can out preform any movie house, sit in our beautiful leather recliners with friends and family, have the best seat in the house, pause the entertainment when necessary, flick through thousands of options, watch when your schedule allows, keep the kids home with friends, record anything for a time well suited, play games across a platform to challenge friends anywhere in the country/world, make bushels of popcorn or have dinner right at your armchair! New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group found that 81 percent of households in the United States have at least one high definition television (HDTV) set, and about 52 percent of all households have multiple HDTVs. 89 percent of HDTV households, and 91 percent of multi-HDTV households, subscribe to a Pay-TV service, compared to 67 percent of non-HDTV households. Ever hear of Netflix? Netflix’s total revenue of $2.48 billion, including $2.35 billion in streaming revenue, compared to analysts’ forecasts of $2.5 billion. For the full year, Netflix had global streaming revenue of $8.3 billion, up 35% over 2015. Overall, Netflix now has 89.09 million paying members worldwide, and by adding more than 7 million members total during the quarter, grew its membership to 93.8 million members globally (those numbers include members using the service on a trial basis before paying monthly fees). Overall, Netflix added 19 million new members globally, compared to 17.4 million in 2015.

The wireless explosion has transformed the market for audio speakers into a $10 billion juggernaut, according to a recent report by Strategy Analytics. With home audio becoming “a focal point” of consumer electronics, the firm noted that an estimated 80 million audio speaker units will ship globally in 2015, with half of them being Wi-Fi enabled. These multi-channel systems are being married to a home theater configured room. No wiring needed for easy installation!

For what you just spend to upgrade that 3 year old “fleece” payment on the latest mega SUV you had to have, you could have spent half of that and purchased an incredible home entertainment system!

And last, but not least, is the seating! If you cheap out on off-shore, imitation theater recliners or entertainment sectionals, you will be back in a year or two replacing what appeared to be cool seating! The old names you grew up with, Berkline, BarcoLounger, Benchcraft, Douglas, etc., your dad’s recliner, went out of business and their names and domains have been purchased by cheap manufacturers! Remember what Ben Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Or my favorite, “NOBODY was ever sorry for buying the BEST!” There was a FRAM Oil filter commercial when I was growing up, “You can pay me now, or pay me later!” “You get what you pay for,” remember that one? A smart investment now will pay huge dividends of enjoyment to you and your family. Join the revolution against an uncomfortable, public, expensive movie theater experience. https://www.premierehts.com/products/

Consult an expert, it never hurts to seek a little advice, study the options, shop around, but fear the “what looks too good to be true…”, because it probably is…

Michael Laurino President & CEO PremiereHTS Home Theater Seating  https://www.premierehts.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *