Let’s all go to the lobby


photo by Peyton Sutch

Regal theaters plans to be fully reopened by the end of this April.

The smell of butter fills the air as you pile into a dimly lit auditorium with your friends. Popcorn kernels crunch beneath your feet as you contemplate the perfect place to sit. But just as the roller coaster simulation starts to play, you wake up on your couch greeted with Netflix asking  “Are you still watching?” 

The movie theater experience may not always be glamorous, but its charm and nostalgia is something that we all should be working to protect: it is time to go back to the movies. 

The pandemic hit movie theaters hard. Once crowded auditoriums have turned into dust-covered ghost towns, but as theaters start to reopen with new COVID procedures, film enthusiasts should feel comfortable returning. Regal Cinema Theaters for example, now enforce masks in all their theaters when not eating or drinking, and have a 50% capacity limit in all their viewing areas. These precautions are no different than surrounding restaurants and theme parks which are on the road to recovery since quarantine. If people are comfortable enough eating in restaurants and perusing around Cinderella’s castle, they can spend two hours in a distanced theater surrounded by snacks and friends. 

With everyone trapped in their homes for almost a year, it was easy to rely on streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ for entertainment, but now that the world is starting to reopen it is important to support in-person theaters. Although most theaters are large franchises like Regal or AMC, each storefront employs dozens of local students and community members and most of the time are owned by your everyday family. These people are currently hurting financially after having to close down the theaters temporarily.When you spend $30 to watch the new Disney+ release on your couch, you are hurting the people who really need it while just adding to big media’s already heavy pockets. 

Plus, there is a lot a movie theater can offer that streaming services can not. The people-watching at a cinema is entertainment in itself. New couples on their first date, ushers who are ready to quit, moms figuring out how to parent their children while juggling two large popcorn buckets and a Diet Coke; you would not be able to find any of these people strolling through your living room. When you substitute Netflix for the theater you miss out on an element of social interaction that is rare to come by these days. The excitement that comes from going to the movies with friends is unmatched, and not something you can not replicate from home. 

Do not let movie theaters become the next BlockBuster. As movies start to come out in theaters again, take your family to enjoy some popcorn and a great experience, before the charm is lost forever.