Edit Desk: Why movie theaters are dying


Due to many reasons, the products churned out by Hollywood over recent years have come to symbolize a total lack of imagination in the industry.

According to an independent study by the Quorum, a film research company, those who bought movie tickets in 2019 were “largely white men ages 25 to 45 who live in cities.” 

The head of Quorum’s research, David Herrin, pointed out the jarring reality that “once you get outside of that demographic, you’re really starting to lose people.” 

Lazy writing coupled with unconvincing character development are the chief ingredients of those barely satisfactory visual-auditory stimulants designed to court those “white men between the ages 25 to 45 who live in cities.” 

We shouldn’t blame audiences for not paying to save chain movie theaters like AMC from their imminent demise.

For someone like me who goes to a lot of movies (I saw over 100 last year in theaters), I should probably act like I am incredibly saddened by the prospect of AMC and Regal dying out, but I think it is totally OK. 

I am among the many who believe good curation and elaborate distribution is the only way to bring back the vibrant creativity movies once had. 

In the post Harvey Weinstein American movie industry, one of the most noteworthy distribution companies, which has a cult-like following, is A24. From major award-winners like “Moonlight,” “The Florida Project” and “Minari” to horror fan favorites like “Hereditary,” “The Witch” and “The Climax,” A24 has built a strong fan-base out of consistent quality and tasteful curations. 

Neon, another new distribution company created in 2017, has already taken over many of the most recent award seasons with major hits such as “Parasite,” “Spencer,” “Flee” and one of my favorite films of 2021 — maybe of all time, “The Worst Person in the World.” 

Smaller distributors with a longer history, such as Film Movement, Kino Lorber and IFC Films, along with Neon and A24, have been partnering more and more with local arthouse cinemas around the U.S. They have learned that customized distribution strategies are crucial to the success of a good film. 

“Drive My Car,” the three-hour long drama which nabbed four Oscars nominations this year, was slowly rolled out by the distributors Sideshow and Janus Films in major cities, like New York City and Los Angeles, before expanding elsewhere. The film itself wasn’t available on streaming platforms until early March. 

Imagine such a film being put on Netflix or Hulu after its initial release: It would have probably disappeared in an instant, whereas now, the film is being played in a small two-screen theater in the middle of Pennsylvania. I would have never dreamed of this happening a year ago. 

I could go on and on about this. Films, movies, whatever you want to call it, are magic. There are still many people out there creating this beautiful magic that both condenses and elevates the life we live. 

Choosing what “content” we see may be more important than ever, now that we have infinite choices to face. Good things will disappear if we’re not careful enough, and losing them should make us all very, very sad.

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  1. You lost me once you brought in race into the game. The race card gets really old! Theaters are dying because of covid, the woke left wing movement of the industry trying to push their political agenda on us, and people buying 85 inch 4k TVs with Dolby Atmos sound bars instead of wasting money on movie theater tickets. Nobody wants to sit next to a smelly toolbags anymore when you can have a better experiences right at home.

    • What are you talking about? Stop projecting your own racial anxiety and obsession unto others? Woke? You sound like a brainwashed Fox News robot. In any case, if you’re upset the writer mentioned “white men” then get a life. He mentioned it in a context of movie attendance. Nothing more nothing less. The fact that you’re triggered, ironically enough, is quite amusing. In any case, the whole theaters are dying conversation is way overblown. theaters will continue to exist in some capacity.

    • You lost ME at the words “race card” and “political agenda”. Let me guess you’re male, straight, white, moderately overweight, a homeowner and you think garlic is spicy. If race is such a non issue ask yourself this: Is there anybody in your life who truly, deeply matters to you that is not white? Have you ever been to the sleepover, birthday party, wedding, baby shower, funeral or dinner party of a black or nonwhite family? Have you ever been the only white person at a job or a school or a party? Have you ever had a boss that’s not white? How many coworkers or classmates have you had that aren’t white? If the answer to all of these questions is no you are not the authority on “race cards”. If the answer to all of these questions is “why does it matter”.. you’re not the authority on race relations in America. And if the answer to every single one of these questions is yes: you still wouldn’t be. Nobody is. And your experience doesn’t cancel out another person’s. How dare you?

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