Local Movie Cinemas Still Attracting Moviegoers Despite Setbacks
Photographer / Justin Sicking
There’s nothing like seeing a new movie on the big screen – buying your ticket, getting some fresh, hot popcorn, and settling into a comfortable chair at your favorite theater. But if you prefer to watch movies at the comfort of your home then 123movies is the right for you!
Families today, however, have more home entertainment options than ever, with umpteen streaming services, Blu-ray and a multitude of TV channels, plus big-screen home theaters.
Scott Lewandowski, general manager at Flix Brewhouse in Carmel, says there are advantages to seeing a movie in the theater.
“There are two main reasons, I believe,” Lewandowski says. “One is that most people can’t replicate a giant movie screen with 7.1 Dolby Atmos sound in their homes. The other is that humans are social by nature and want to experience the joy of seeing a film for the first time with other human beings.”
Margot Gerber, a spokesperson for Landmark Theatres, says there is no substitute for seeing a great movie in a theater with other people.
“Seeing a comedy with a crowd makes the funny jokes better,” Gerber says. “You are sharing the experience with others. It’s the human interaction that makes a movie better in a theater.”
Gerber notes that the technical aspects of a movie are also typically enhanced in a movie theater.
“There is also being able to completely lose yourself in a film at a theater,” Gerber says. “When you are at home, you stop a movie to check your phone or get clothes out of the dryer. It’s just not the same. You end up watching the film in increments. At a theater you watch the movie from start to finish.”
Ryan Noonan, vice president of corporate communications for AMC Theatres, says there’s no substitute for the big-screen experience.
“There’s a reason movies on the big screen have persevered for more than a century,” Noonan says. “There’s something that simply can’t be replicated when you see a movie on the big screen with that big sound, surrounded by a community of movie lovers. Funny moments feel funnier when you’re surrounded by a room of people laughing, and scary moments are scarier. We get to be transported and entertained for a few hours – and the popcorn is really good.”
Lewandowski believes there are other elements of the theater experience people miss out on when they stream a movie at home.
“If you don’t come to Flix you’ll be missing out on top-notch service, fresh craft beer and delicious food offerings,” Lewandowski says.
Lewandowski says he saw an uptick in sales at Flix Brewhouse in December.
“We had just opened back up, and the sales were outstanding for ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’” he says. “We could be doing even greater if we weren’t experiencing the same staffing shortage the rest of the world is going through right now.”
Gerber says Landmark Theatres also saw ticket sales increase.
“We did extremely well during the Christmas season,” Gerber says. “A lot of people came out to see ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and ‘The Matrix.’ Our ticket sales were outstanding. The box office is strong when people want to come out for the blockbusters to have that moviegoing experience.”
Gerber adds that critically acclaimed films at the end of last year such as “West Side Story” and “Nightmare Alley” also did well.
“The holiday season makes people want to get out of the house and have fun,” she says. “They want to enjoy the magic of the movies.”
Local resident Mary Sloan went with her family to a showing of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” at Regal Village Park, and says her kids wanted to enjoy it on the big screen.
“At Christmas time you are already sitting around the house enough as it is,” Sloan says. “You want to see a fun movie on the big screen with an audience. The kids have a great time and so do the parents.”
COVID-19, however, has made an impact on ticket sales.
“Everyone certainly has a heightened awareness for safety,” Lewandowski says. “We’re no exception. We do our best to make a moviegoing experience as safe as possible for both guests and team members. We’ve added ionizers in our HVAC system that kill virtually all viruses every time the air gets cycled, which is about every five minutes.”
Noonan notes that COVID-19 has been an obstacle, but it has also reminded many people why movies are so important.
“It challenged the industry in a way that had never happened before,” Noonan says. “Everyone had to close their doors for several months. I think it also reminded the entire moviegoing ecosystem – filmmakers, performers, distributors and moviegoers – about how special the moviegoing experience is, and how much people enjoy getting out of their homes to see a movie on the big screen.”
Jack Denney, a moviegoer at Regal Noblesville, says he hasn’t let COVID-19 stop him or his family from seeing movies on the big screen.
“We feel very safe here,” Denney says. “This is such a great place to see a movie on the big screen. The management here does an outstanding job of cleaning the theaters.”
Despite taking steps to make theaters safe, Lewandowski says there is still a shortage of workers at some theaters.
“We are no exception to the global labor-force shortage,” Lewandowski says. “I think we have a few things that help in our favor. We have an exceptional product that our team can support, and we have a positive and fun work environment as long as you like movies. We’re certainly looking for great people to help us deliver a superb experience, all while having fun and making good money in the process.”
Lewandowski notes that positive things still remain at movie theaters.
“For starters, there’s fresh popcorn, Dolby Atmos sound systems, giant silver screens, luxurious chairs and easy-glider countertops for comfortable dining,” he says.
Noonan believes moviegoers will continue to support theaters.
“There’s still nothing like the aroma of popcorn that invites you in as you enter, or the feeling of the lights dimming and the movie starting,” Noonan says. “The feeling of seeing the images on the movie screen and the sounds that come from everywhere – whether you are with friends or family, on a date or by yourself, there is something about going to the movies that everyone immediately understands. The experience is unmatched.”
Gerber has high hopes for the future.
“COVID-19 definitely had an impact on everything, but I think the good ticket sales can still continue into the new year,” Gerber says.
She adds that there is nothing like seeing a movie in a theater with other people.
“You have to love the big screen,” Gerber says. “It’s such an immersive experience. You can really see all of the details that went into the movie. I like sitting in the back of the theater and really taking in a good movie. For movie purists there is nothing like the big screen.”
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