The future of entertainment: Movie theaters vs. streaming platforms

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Popular streaming services

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In recent years streaming has become an increasingly popular way of consuming entertainment. Platforms such as Netflix, HBO max, Disney+, Hulu, and many more have made watching movies from your own home very easy. As a result, going to movie theaters is becoming less and less of a common practice. Due to the pandemic, the entertainment industry has undergone a major setback. According to Forbes, “there were only 338 theatrically released movies in 2020, a year-over-year decline of 66% from 987 movies in 2019.” Movie theaters across the world have been closed, and the release dates of various movies have been pushed for months. Theaters are just now beginning to reopen and recover. In the past few decades, the entertainment industry has evolved because of advancements in technology such as video cassettes, CDs, and DVDs.

Now, streaming content online may lead to the death of movie theaters which are already in decline.

Many people have varying views on which form of entertainment is better. These opinions will determine whether streaming or movie theaters are the future of entertainment. One Washington student, Freshman Jordyn Hoppe, explains, “I prefer streaming platforms because they make watching movies easier. You don’t have to deal with a ton of people disturbing you.” Going to a movie theater is most definitely not a perfect experience. Especially right now during the pandemic, you would have to take precautions to stay safe. 

Streaming services allow you to watch much more for cheaper as well. You can watch as many movies as you want with multiple people for a monthly fee. This can be much cheaper than buying movie tickets for numerous different movies or for many people. For example, a family of 4 can watch as many movies as they want in a month for only $13.99 on Netflix. On the other hand, it would cost over $50 for 4 tickets at AMC without the additional costs for tax, snacks, and more.

“There is also much more variety,” says Hoppe. Streaming platforms provide a very wide selection of movies in many genres and languages, not to mention TV shows as well. Many platforms are releasing their own content that is not available elsewhere. For example, Netflix has released a lot of original content such as Stranger Things. Additionally, movies such as Black Widow have been released in both theaters and streaming. Most movies that have had theater releases later become available to stream. “Movies are only in the theaters for so many days and months,” says Jordyn, “So, it’s easier to just watch movies on Disney plus or Netflix because you have time to watch them. You can go back to rewatch them too.” Another added bonus is the ability to control when or how you watch something. “You can pause a movie to go get something or rewind. Going to the bathroom at the movies is the worst. You end up missing a whole part of the movie. It’s just more convenient to stream it,” says Jordyn.

Stranger Things (TV Series 2016– ) - IMDb

Netflix Original: Stranger Things

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Black Widow (2021) - IMDb

Black Widow: released on Disney+ and in theaters

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Although streaming can be very convenient, it just doesn’t match up to watching a movie in theaters, believes Freshman Kaitlyn Opiana. “I’m a person who likes to go outside a lot rather than stay at home,” explains Kaitlyn. She says that if she was more of a stay-at-home person she might like streaming services better because you don’t have to go anywhere. But, she likes going out, so movie theaters are a better entertainment option for her.

To Kaitlyn, movie theaters provide a much better overall experience. Nothing can beat going to the movies. “You can sit in a room full of people and have a raw reaction to the movie with all of them,” says Kaitlyn. Watching a good movie for the first time on the big screen is amazing. With the loud sounds you just get immersed in the movie. You can also watch movies in 3D or at a drive-in theater which just enhances the experience further. “The movie theater popcorn and all the candies are great too,” adds Kaitlyn. 

“I like going out with friends, and most movie theaters are in a mall,” explains Kaitlyn. “You can just go watch a movie after having a fun day hanging out at the mall.” Some theaters nearby are the AMC Theater in NewPark Mall and Century Theater in Pacific Commons. These places offer a full day of fun which can include watching a movie. 

Century Theatres in Pacific Commons

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AMC in NewPark Mall

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Different people clearly have varying opinions on whether theaters or streaming is better. In the end it just depends on peoples’ personalities and preferences. Although streaming services will most likely grow even more popular and movie theaters will overtime lessen in prevalence, movie theaters will probably be around for many years to come because both forms of consuming entertainment bring something unique to the viewing experience.

Nishika Datla is a junior at Washington High School. She was born in Hayward, but has lived in Fremont her entire life. This is her third year with The Hatchet, and she is the News Editor and the website manager this year. She is interested in covering stories about the arts, activism, and important events in both the Washington community and the world. Nishika enjoys drawing, crocheting, playing badminton, and hanging out with her friends. In the future she hopes to go to college and become a scientist.

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