Are Movie Theaters Dying?

            Going to the movie theater has been a popular activity since the late 1800s. It’s a great spot to go with friends or even by yourself. However, with the rise of streaming services this past decade, are theaters dying? How popular are they now? 

            Ever since streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc have grown, movie theaters have become less popular. New streaming services are continuing to emerge like Disney Plus which came out in 2019. Since then, it has managed to become one of the most popular streaming services with more than seventy million subscribers. As more people subscribe to these platforms, the more movie theater attendance declines. People no longer feel the need to go to the theater for entertainment because instead, they would much rather watch movies in the comfort of their own homes. 
Nevertheless, convenience is not the only factor in the decline of movie theaters, the pandemic has played a huge role in the decline in movie theaters. When COVID-19 hit, many theaters temporarily closed to prevent the spread of the virus. Since then, many cinemas have struggled to make ends meet. For example, in 2022, Cineworld, the second largest cinema chain and owner of the Regal Cinemas, announced they would be closing some of their theaters due to bankruptcy. In 2020, Cineworld lost $2.7 billion in revenue. In 2022, they lost another $566 million. They have closed dozens of Regal Theaters in several locations including ones in New York City. Once theaters opened back up, most people had already gotten used to staying at home to watch the latest movie release. 

            For a while, COVID-19 also caused a scarcity of movie releases. Many production companies either delayed or suspended movie productions due to COVID. After the pandemic, there were not many new movies being released in theaters. When films were released in theaters, the duration between when they were released in theaters and on streaming services also heavily impacted attendance. For example, Turning Red which was released in March of 2022 was only available in theaters for 1 week before it was pulled by Disney Plus. It then only became available on Disney Plus. If production studios started releasing more of their popular films in theaters, it might be enough to revive cinemas. Many production companies just stopped releasing films to theaters altogether and directly to streaming platforms because they believe it to be more profitable .

            Despite the drastic decrease in popularity, many theaters are still in business and doing well. Popular films from this past year including Puss and Boots, Don’t Worry Darling, Black Panther, Avatar 2, etc have made millions in theaters. Overall, going to the theater is still a great experience if you are looking for new activities in the city. The cinema business is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.