The movie industry shifts

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Grace Nelson/XPress photo

These are some of the tickets collected by Senior Emma McCarthy. Ticket stubs have been used for years in theaters, however we are starting to see the downfall of physical tickets and movies.

Grace Nelson, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The entertainment industry has adapted and changed throughout the pandemic, as public entertainment has become less accessible and desirable. While going out to the movies was a popular opportunity for socialization and entertainment, this has become much less prevalent. Watching movies at home is not the same exciting experience as going out to see a movie in a theater. However, we can adapt and learn to enjoy movies from the comfort of our homes.

Many streaming services including HBO Max have adapted to the current lifestyle of former movie-goers. While the shift in society has created new opportunities for online or virtual entertainment services, it has also decreased the success for public entertainment locations like movie theaters. 

HBO partnered with Warner Bros. to feature new releases that were at one time, exclusive to movie theaters. This exclusivity was one of the most significant reasons to see a movie in theaters. 

For example, if you wanted to see the movie Mulan last year in September, you would have had to see it in theaters. To see it at home, however, you would have had to wait until at least one month later or until it became available for online viewing. 

New movie releases, especially from significant companies such as Warner Bros., were heavily advertised. This increased the demand for viewing such movies. The high anticipation was an effective driving force to bring customers into theaters so they were able to view movies as soon as possible. 

HBO has created a much more accessible way to view these movies. While this is much more convenient for viewers, it takes a toll on movie theater companies. Bringing new releases to homes provides little reason to come into a physical movie theater, especially with one’s health and safety at risk due to Covid. This drastically decreases movie theater company success.

 According to statistics from thenumbers.com, movie ticket sales have decreased by almost 20% from 2019 to 2020. Numbers dropped from the billions to the millions, sinking below sales numbers from well over two decades ago.

Viewers have varying opinions regarding the industry and this shift. “Going to the movies with friends was always more fun than watching them at home by myself, but I have a new appreciation for film at home because it gives me something to do while I am bored in quarantine,” said Xavier sophomore Chloe Lindeback. Many viewers feel similarly to Chloe, as they might have preferred going to the theaters but have learned to enjoy movie watching at home.

In a survey sent out to the Xavier student body, 51.6% of students reported that they preferred watching movies in theaters, with 44% having a preference for viewing in the comfort of their homes.

With the anticipation of new movies that will be released on HBO Max, fewer people may feel inclined to go to the theaters to see the same movies they can watch at home. Some of the most popular and highly anticipated movies of 2021 include A Quiet Place Part II, In the Heights and Dune. These movies, amongst other popular choices, are all available on HBO Max.

While HBO Max has certainly grown in popularity, not all viewers have purchased or are planning on purchasing this service. In fact, over half of the survey respondents indicated that they do not have HBO Max, nor are they planning on investing in it.

With the entertainment industry constantly changing, new ideas and services are bound to develop. While this may negatively affect other companies, it is a necessary contributor to the growth of the industry.