Sitting in a seat that who knows what all has been spilled on it, eating a $5 box of chocolate covered raisins, and that one kid sitting behind you who will not stop talking.
It seems that experience is not as common as it once was.
With the introduction of Netflix and Redbox, the numbers have begun to shift in this day and age when consumers are all about the instant gratification.
In a Facebook post dated October 25, 2012, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, announced that the company had reached 30 million streaming members.
Redbox, like Netflix, has put a damper on the relevance of a video rental store.
According to their website, there are 38,500 Redbox kiosks in the U.S. across every state and 68% of the U.S. population live within a 5-minute drive of a Redbox location.
According to market research firm HIS, Netflix jumped from less than 1 percent of U.S. online movie revenue in 2010 to 44 percent in 2011.
“Everything is about pushing a button. It streams. You can get any movie you want on your iPad right now,” Patti Harris, co-owner of Box Office Video, said.
Harris said that it was the customers, the people of Abilene, that have kept her video rental store open.
“It’s our customers that are keeping us going,” Harris said, “they’re awesome.”
Although the numbers seem to speak volumes, some still enjoy the movie theater experience and all that it entails.
“I’ve even gone to the movies by myself before. Â Sometimes it’s most convenient if I really want to see something to just go by myself so I don’t have to work around other people’s schedules. Â But I still enjoy watching a good movie socially,” Toni Maisano, junior communications major from Burnet, said.
Indoor theaters are definitely feeling the impact of their digitally streaming competitor though.
Abilene is one of the few towns across the country that is lucky enough to be home to a drive-in theater.
“A drive-in is more of a nostalgic thing because there’s not one in every town and so we’re a little different than indoor theaters,” Ray Andress, owner of Town & Country Drive-In, said.
Andress said that his business had not really seen a negative impact from the online streaming services.
Not only are the businesses seeing the impact, the people behind the scenes of the movies have seen the changes firsthand.
“Hollywood movies started becoming very generic and way over budget. More and more movies just started being made just because Hollywood’s next big actors needed to build fan bases,” Anthony Gutierrez, a Dallas-based independent filmmaker, said, “I think this is why fewer people are going to movies and because they are just choosier about what they are willing to spend $10 on.”
Gutierrez said that he believes that low box office ticket sales are a reflection of poor movie making decisions on Hollywood’s part, but that the internet was probably the biggest single factor in movie promotions.
“Facebook alone, with all its millions of users can make and/or break a movie at the box office. You have millions of Facebook users saying a movie sucks- you can bet that movie won’t last,” Gutierrez said.
Cody Pottkotter, a working actor from Tyler, agreed that price has become a huge factor for the entertainment choices that people make.
“When you have to spend almost $18 to go to a movie, when you could just buy it online, I think that’s had a big impact,” Pottkotter said, “I think the prices are what’s driving down ticket sales.”
Seeing the impact firsthand, Pottkotter said that it has made the drive for him to be involved in better, more affordable indie movies that much stronger.
“It has, if anything, helped me out because it has become so popular to make indie flicks now and it’s easier now that everything is digital,” Pottkotter said, “Movies that will only get limited release or indie films that people will pay $1 to $5 at your local indie theater, there’s more of a drive for that and more of a demand, so if anything, it has helped me that the Hollywood style theaters are charging way too much.”
All this means is that the future of the movie industry is not set in stone.
All we, as entertainment consumers, can do is sit back, watch the movies and put our money where we believe it should go and into services that will give us the satisfaction that we crave.