Theater owners have been blaming the home theater industry for lost revenue for decades and are still blaming them. The problem with blaming the home theater industry really just shows that cinema owners are not thinking outside the box. Just like the movie rental business has been ambushed by streaming media content like Netflix and other streaming services, the ability to adapt is a key component to the success of the theater business. People will always watch movies at home in their best home theater and will still go to the local theater but if the theater experience is not adapting to the changes that technology has provided us with then the movie theater will just be a nostalgic experience similar to a drive in.
Going out to the movies is a social experience, and the problem that theaters are facing isn’t that home theaters get the content too early, but that the big theaters have made the theater-going experience suck. The theaters are cramped, uncomfortable, noisy. The food prices are ridiculous. The sound quality or video quality sucks. But that’s not the fault of home theaters. That’s the fault of theater owners not making the experience good.
There certainly are some who recognize that making the theater experience better is the strategy that will work, but they’re in the minority. The big theaters just keep worrying about windows and online streaming and “piracy,” and don’t seem to make any effort to give people reasons to go to the theater. People want to “go out.” People want to have a special experience and enjoy being out with friends. That’s what theaters should be capitalizing on. People can stay home and eat, but restaurants still do fine business, because people want that better experience of going out to eat. The same is true of going to the movies, but only if the theaters recognize that they have to make that an experience worth going out to.
Maybe theaters should focus on specialty niches like dedicating a theater for couples only with the appropriate decor for a romantic experience for romantic movies only. Or maybe have a space ship theme theater for just Sci Fi movies only. This would add so much more to the movie experience as well as a great way to generate more interest in going out to the theater. If people do not get that “WOW” experience then they will find it someplace else.
What are your thoughts about the home theater industry threatening the income of movie theaters?