Families Apparently Not a Market for Movie Theaters

COMMENTARY | It costs at least $49 for my husband and I to go to the movies; $24 for tickets and $25 for a babysitter. It costs $36 for us to go to the movies with our kids; $24 for us and $12 for two child tickets. If we wait a couple of months, the same movie seen at the theater can be bought for $20 and when my 3-year-old has a meltdown I can pause the movie, send the kid to bed, then press play to enjoy the rest of the show. Thus it is $16 cheaper for our family of four to enjoy a movie at home than it is to watch the same movie in the theater.

It just doesn’t make economic sense for a family to go to the movies.

The last time my husband and I went to the theater I had to ask a 40-something lady to stop talking on her cell phone. Instead of stopping she talked on it louder and her friend cussed at us for intruding on their right to do as they please. At home such child-like behavior is handled by a reprimand and, if necessary, a trip to timeout. The environment in a movie theater is out of my control. At home I have full control of the environment.

It just doesn’t make environmental sense for a family to go to the movies.

It is apparent that movie theaters do not target families as their main customers. If they did, tickets would be less expensive and more expense would be placed to better controlling the theater environment. If they want to capture the family market, tickets prices will have to go down and they will have to better enforce policies relating to cell phones, texting, and talking.

Theaters used to market to families. They must have because my parents were not rich but they took us to movies all the time. My dad has no tolerance for rude people so I am assuming movie patrons used to be more respectful or ushers used to keep people under control. While we would have a great time talking before the show and shouting out answers to the useless movie trivia that flashed on the screen, as soon as the theater got dark, everyone got quiet and stayed that way. You could lose yourself in a movie back then, without breaking the bank. I still remember literally falling gout of my seat during the creepy scene in “The Silence of the Lambs” when Clarice is being stalked by the butterfly killer. I remember bawling my eyes out as the dying Johnny encourages Ponyboy to “stay gold”, referring to the Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” that Ponyboy had earlier recited to Johnny. In contrast, my most recent movie memories include cringing at the cost and being annoyed at rude movie patrons during one of Tom Cruise’s latest movies (What was the name of that movie anyway?)

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