When I was in my teens and early 20s, I felt eager to see movies in the theater as soon as they were released. I wanted to be part of the initial excitement and immediate discussion of brand new films. Several years ago, however, I gave up going to the theater. I would rather wait a few months, save money, and watch films in the comfort of my own home.
Avoiding the Theater Is Good for My Budget
Cost is a major reason I’ve been in a movie theater only twice in the last few years. Though consumer spending has increased and the economy is more stable than it was circa 2008, Americans remain more budget-conscious than they were. Unemployment, underemployment, and low wages remain pressing concerns especially among young people. Individuals who weathered the recession as young adults have been called the most fiscally conservative group since the Great Depression.
The high prices of movie tickets and theater snacks make the theater an undesirable form of entertainment. An evening show time of a first-run movie costs $10 to $15 per person. Even if we skip the over-priced concessions then choose a reasonably priced restaurant, dinner and a movie with my spouse will cost at least $50. If we avoid the theater and make other conservative choices for entertainment, the extra money can go toward our mortgage, into retirement savings, or toward the expense of raising a child.
Waiting to Watch at Home Is Convenient and Comfortable
As someone who was born in the late 1970’s, my consumption patterns tend to reflect the millennial generation’s financial mindset. I value access over acquisition. Streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Instant Video make it easy to access movies from the comfort of my living room. If a movie I want to see is not available on any of the services to which I subscribe, I can probably find it at Redbox or borrow it from a friend or family member who has purchased it.
I don’t have to wait long to see new movies. Since 1998, the wait time between theater run and DVD release has dropped from nearly 6 months to less than 4 months. The home technology is more than adequate. It’s even possible to watch 3D films through Netflix or on disc, but I agree with Roger Ebert’s assessment that 3D doesn’t improve movies. At home, I can also make healthier snacks for a fraction of the theater price. And I don’t have to experience rude behaviors such as people talking through the film, using cell phones during the show, and failing to supervise small children who are in attendance.
To increase both enjoyment and value, I avoid the theater and watch from the comfort of my own home.