Are Movie Theaters Destined to Become The Next Blockbuster Video?

Left, Kent Lott and Right, Brandon Lott inside Movie Mill in Blackfoot. Photo courtesy of B2X Photo

Natalia Richards, Reporter

The local movie theater. A place to relax, watch a feature film and enjoy a buttery bucket of popcorn. What if this place ceased to exist? Many people are visiting their sofas instead of theaters, due to COVID-19 and first-run movies being featured on streaming apps. This action by the studios has resulted in the box office making 81% less from pre-pandemic times, according to Rebecca Rubin from Variety Magazine. So this begs the question, are movie theaters becoming the new Blockbuster video? 

In 2020, COVID-19  caused every theater worldwide to close and 42,000  never reopened, but that’s not all it did to the industry. Theaters were unable to follow COVID-19 regulations, so the only way to see first-run movies was to watch them at home. This inspired companies like Disney, HBO, Paramount, and others to stream movies on their services. This component destroyed industry’s sales and made it much more difficult to attract customers when they reopened. 

 Brandon Lott, general manager of Royal Theaters, believes that the theater experience is one-of-a-kind and will keep the business running for decades to come. He believes that at-home streaming services can’t live up to the escape you find at a theater, “ The big comment that I received from people in the community… is it just wasn’t the same (at home). The atmosphere (inside the theater) gave me goosebumps. ” Recently Disney changed its policy and made it mandatory to see new releases in theaters. Lott says “The last Marvel film Shang-Chi… was Disney’s first film to go exclusively in theaters, It performed very well. ”As for COVID-19, Lott says they are taking strict safety measures to ensure people’s health and wellbeing. He believes the future is very bright. For now, movie lovers can support the industry by visiting their local theaters and splurging on that large bucket of popcorn.