Being the James Bond enthusiast that I am, I recently went to the movies to see No Time To Die (Daniel Craig is still the man, I might add). This wasn’t the first time I’ve been to the movies since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, but it is definitely the first big release I’ve attended.
As expected, the movie theater was fairly empty and, in line with proper social distancing protocol, only a certain number of seats were available. I can’t lie, it was a bit weird. And with digital streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max increasing in popularity in recent years, it all begs the question: Will we ever fully get back to movie theaters?
I love going to the movies with my people. Hearing the crowd’s reaction during pivotal moments, the faint whisper from a woman to her man when she doesn’t understand the plot, the powerful silence during an emotional scene… It’s just beautiful to witness.
When I went to the movies a few weeks ago, I didn’t get that feeling. I was one of the only Black people in the theater. Outside of the sound quality, it was almost as if I was watching a new release at home, minus the comfort and access to free snacks and such. The movie was great, but the experience, without us, was a bit stale.
I don’t know how long this pandemic will last, but I think it will affect the film industry for years to come.
High ticket prices, even more expensive food prices, and no massive waves of Black people to enjoy the movie with doesn’t make going to a theater that appealing anymore. If you have a big ass TV, a DSP subscription (or a family member’s password, either one is fine), and some friends to call over, you can somewhat recreate the movie experience for yourself. Now, I’m not trying to advocate that we stop going to the movies, but it just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Many of the things I love watching are in series form nowadays anyway, and many production companies are launching their films on Netflix, HBO Max, and other streaming services; so, for now, I’d rather just stay in the house.
While I don’t foresee movie theaters going the way of CDs or newspapers, I can envision a future where people go to the movies strictly for nostalgic purposes. If that’s the case, you can count your boy out.