The last film I saw at the cinemas was Jason Bourne. This isn’t a movie review post but let’s just say I expected more.
Going to the movies is not something I do regularly. If I do go it’s with family or friends – never by myself, I’m too awkward for that. But over the years it has gotten so expensive that I can’t justify paying almost $20 to watch one movie, and that’s before spending a fortune on a small popcorn and drink combo. I find myself missing out on the cinema run of the film altogether or *whispers* finding a copy on the internet to stream/download. Of course, if there was a movie I was dying to see I will fork out the coin to see it but going to the movies has become a ‘sometimes’ activity. The added expense, the quality of films and movie experience have all impacted numbers of people attending cinemas. Hagerstrand identified three different constraints that may limit an individual in their daily activitied and is relevant to the ability to go or attitude towards going to the cinema. They include:
- Capability constraints “are limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors”, e.g. sleeping, eating and financial resources (Hagerstrand 1970). This constraint is particularly relevant as money can be a major factor that stops many people from being able to go to the movies.
- Coupling constraints are limits on when and where activities can or cannot take place (Hagerstrand 1970). This constraint is relevant as specific movies may only play at certain cinemas or may have a limited run, making it hard for someone how may have limited time to see the film.
- Authority constraints are limits on when activities can or cannot take place or be located, imposed by external parties (Hagerstrand 1970). This relates to the rules usually associated with going to the movies such as turn-off phones and staying quiet. These rules may put off people from attending the movies or anger those who witness the rules being broken.
It is no wonder cinema attendance has dropped off when you could watch whatever you want when you want in the comfort of your own home, rather than abide by the rules of the cinema and be confind to session times and forking out $50 for a ticket and food. Is the cinema viable anymore?
So back to my latest trip to the cinema. My family and I went to an Event Cinemas near where we live. We had a gift voucher that was going to expire so that was one of the main reasons for the trip. It was the second to last session on a Saturday night and the theater wasn’t even one-third full. This may have been because the movie had been out for three weeks already (not to mention the reviews were so-so). The thing with Event Cinemas is that it is assigned seating. Our seats weren’t too bad but were too close to the aisle for my liking. Also, the lights that lit up the aisle stairs are way too bright and often distracted me from the movie. I wouldn’t say I would stop going to the cinema for these reasons but it is costly considering you are more control of what happens at home.
With the growth of on-demand services like Nexflix, there is no doubt they have hurt the cinema industy in someway. People like to be in control of their entertainment. While I don’t think cinemas are in any danger of completely dying off anytime soon, they still have stiff competition against entertainment providers that are free from the three constraint Hagerstrand talks about.