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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Why you should watch your next movie in theaters

Leyna Chan

There’s something so comforting about sitting in bed and watching a movie at 2 a.m., knowing that you still have math homework to complete and a quiz the next day. Or, when you’re not up at ungodly hours, friends can always come over and watch a movie with you in the comfort and convenience of your house — without a lengthy trip to the theater, hefty ticket prices or the need to look presentable. 

However, despite these advantages, watching movies at home lacks the key characteristics that make the traditional movie-going experience so special. As a social activity, it’s much more entertaining to go to the movies with your friends because you actually leave the house, rather than just sitting in bed for another four hours with a laptop propped up on your pillow. In a theater, you’re completely immersed in the movie-watching experience: There are no distractions, no parents walking in to check on you and no screaming of a sibling in the background; it’s just the big screen, the dialogue, and the food. 

Attending a theater provides a truly immersive experience with the big screen, loud music and overpriced popcorn that you just can’t get at home. I’m not the biggest Marvel fan, but watching Infinity Wars and Spider Man on the big screen and hearing the gasps and laughter of surrounding friends and audience members kept me constantly on edge. 

As the entire theater collectively experiences the movie at the same time, shocking reveals during a mystery movie or a jump scare during a thriller are felt among watchers, and you can hear the reactions of those around you, adding to the shock or fear factor. Such reactions are just as essential to the movie-watching experience as the movie itself; a jump scare set at 20% volume on your TV at home as dishes are being washed in the background just isn’t the same. 

Sharing buttery popcorn is another staple. Call it placebo, but that overpriced, steaming theater popcorn somehow feels more fulfilling than the microwaved kind  at home — it adds to the feeling of watching a movie being a special experience rather than just a way to pass time. 

The anticipation of watching a movie for the first time right when it’s released is also significantly different from watching it on a streaming service months after it came out. For one, waiting that long means you may have already received spoilers, no matter how careful you may have been to avoid them. And, watching a movie on your computer is not nearly as thrilling as doing so on a 70 by 40 foot screen. 

However, one big drawback with the theater experience is the ever-growing price. While a single ticket at AMC costs $14 to $18 per person, a month of online streaming can cost from $4.99 with Apple TV+ to $15.49 for Netflix, each of which comes with hundreds of TV shows and movies. 

Of course, there can also be minor annoyances in theaters. Viewers may forget to turn off their phones or talk loudly during the movie. Then there is the overactive AC that is often at full blast, making for a freezing experience throughout the entirety of the movie. 

Despite these issues, the large screen and loud dialogue makes the experience special. Bringing a jacket isn’t a hassle at all and, more often than not, other movie watchers are just as immersed in the experience as you. As for me, I primarily go to the theaters for long-anticipated movies and ones I certainly don’t want spoilers for, such as murder mysteries, in order to keep my wallet from running dry.   

Additionally, the most memorable movie watching experiences I have had have been in theaters, with “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” A large debate centering around releases in theaters is whether movies released to streaming services rather than theaters should be able to win awards. Many directors intend for their movies to be watched on the big screen rather than at home. 

While watching at home saves more of your hard-earned money, theaters provide a better, more immersive watching experience and act as a fun social activity with friends. The next time you find yourself jumping to watch a new movie, consider paying that extra sum for a better experience in theaters.

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