The Evolution and Future of the Movie Theater Experience

One of my favorite films is the 2001 movie, The Majestic, starring Jim Carrey. Carrey plays a Hollywood writer in the 1950’s who, after a car accident, loses his memory and wanders into a small town where he is mistaken for a lost son. He helps his “father” restore an old, small-town theater called The Majestic.

I love the movies. The movie theater is a magical place. A place for young men with their slicked-back hair and button-down shirts to take their dates on Friday nights. A place where families can go on Saturday afternoons. In the 1930’s and 40’s, the American cinema was not only a place to see a good movie. It was an all-day experience. Movie-goers would see, not only their intended movie, but a world newsreel followed by an animated Disney short, then a live action short, and finally the feature film.

The movie theaters of that day really gave you some bang for your buck. Unlike today’s theaters where you end up paying about four times as much for a fourth of the experience, making them famous for overcharging for both tickets and refreshments, and it is this issue of refreshments that brings us to the next evolution of cinema.

Many theaters offer wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages, and there is also a growing trend of full menus and meals offered during screenings. By my calculations, concession sales alone at cinemas make up 40 percent of the industry’s total gross, a significant amount of money. A new trend is coming. Mr. Ron Law, a former cardiologist, is pressing to get his new soybean based snack in theaters, which he promises will be the healthier alternative to the standard greasy popcorn and sugary candy fare.

While he swears his health food will also be tasty, moviegoers are skeptical. Including this one. A bucket of buttery popcorn and a vat of soda may not be the healthiest choice, but it’s a classic part of the movie-going experience. A large part of the joy of the movies comes from junk food. The price and experience of the movies may be changing, but popcorn and candy will always be the consistent food of the movie-going masses and nothing will change that.


Tim Martin

Tim Martin is from central Kansas where he briefly attended film school before coming to CCM. He grew up watching mostly silent films, classical cinema, and researching film history, Tim has a unique perspective on film for someone only 21 years of age, one that lends itself well to his roles as a writer and producer. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys reading, taking walks in the wood, and watching horror films.

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