Movie Theatres Return with Vengeance Nothing better than being back in front of the big screen!
Stepping into Cineplex on Friday, March 4th, 2022, the night of the Batman release is as chaotic as imaginable. People of various ages, teenagers raving to see Robert Pattinson's imitation of the iconic Batman character or millennials excited to see their favourite story portrayed on the big screen again, all gathered around to experience DC's newest masterpiece. Everyone circled the building, confirmed their vaccine passports, and picked up popcorn bags (with extra butter), all led to the same theatre to watch the 8 o'clock showing of The Batman.
"This is the most traffic we have gotten in almost two years; I feel a bit overwhelmed," says Kayleigh Slater, an employee at Cineplex for nearly 4 years now.
Watching movies at the cinema has been an everyday activity for over a century now. Something that was a regular pastime for the general public was rapidly taken away from them for some time. Nevertheless, as Covid restrictions loosen up, movie theatres start receiving and showing the blockbusters that have spent the last two years waiting in the editing room. Whether it's because many of these films are starring Hollywood's finest or because people are excited to watch movies anywhere but their own living room, there is no denying the poppin’ incline in movie theatre guests for the first time in a long time.
Though cases have been seeing lessened numbers these days, some people, including Dawson College's Cinema Styles professor Cheryl Simon, are still more anxious about sitting next to strangers for prolonged periods of time.
"Honestly, I think the reason I haven't gone back is not so interesting, but I just don't like crowds. I'm still quite terrified," says professor Simon as she takes a sip of her coffee and continues, "There was one movie I did see though around October, The French Dispatch by Wes Anderson. Great Film."
Conditioned by months of lockdown and attracted by the flexibility of on-demand viewing, many consumers have grown even more accustomed to streaming movies from the comfort of their own homes. But even so, a big screen can certainly elevate a big film in a manner that streaming at home cannot. With your attention and the hundreds of other audience members all concentrating on the same screen, you become a community of individuals attempting to engage with the same tale at the same time. It is an experience you cannot get in a living room.
There is something refreshing about the same chairs, concession stands, and inadequate soundproofing that do not represent the ways in which we have all evolved over the last year and a half.
The theatres felt like a place for film lovers to get together in their communities and enjoy something altogether. Now that the likes of Dune, The Power of the Dog and Spencer have finally had their big break by hitting the big screens, it truly feels like the community has been restored. When Naeva Hernandez-Souki, Dawson College cinema student and self-proclaimed cinephile, was asked about going back to watching movies in theatres, she claimed: "It feels really nice to go to the theatres with my friends again and enjoy the experience like we used to".
The numbers honestly say it all, with The Batman already rounding up to 600 million USD in earnings after sitting in theatres for a month, claiming it to be the second highest-grossing film (following Spider-Man No Way Home) since the beginning of the pandemic according to ABC News.
There is no avoiding the simple fact that the Covid-19 pandemic tarnished the cinema experience for many moviegoers. The future trajectory for the theatre industry suggests that people will keep going to the movies, but they must be given a reason to do so.