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OPINION: why would anyone ever want movie theaters to go away?

Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s was a magical time. I cannot describe it exactly, but life was seemingly perfect. My fondest movie theater memories go as far back as seeing Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland with my mom in 2010 (and having an inside joke about “off with their heads!” for years to come), 8 Mile (mind you, with my friend’s parents in 2002 since it was rated R—you could imagine how awkward the sex scenes were), the original Avatar in 3D on Christmas Day 2009 at midnight, literally every Mummy movie in the entire saga in middle school (and probably subsequently getting kicked out for being loud)—the list goes on. 

That is what I love most about seeing a film on the big screen: for a couple of hours you can escape the humdrum of everyday life and fall into whatever story is being told; sometimes you might even feel uncomfortable or challenged, whatever it is, your mind is completely lost while simultaneously making memories with friends and loved ones. 

The popular ad campaign featuring none other than Nicole Kidman herself depicted this phenomenon perfectly: that you can be happy in a place like this—because it is completely made up; you are in a world that somebody (or more likely a team of very talented individuals) made up for you to absorb and enjoy.

When the pandemic hit and things were shutting down, I was depressed as hell. Coming from somebody who used to do #MovieMonday religiously and this being somewhat of a movie blog ultimately, I do have an innate bias of going to the theater and enjoying any assortment of productions just for the fun of it—but if you can catch my drift, it is more than just movie theaters. 

There are so many layers to producing a film requiring talents anywhere from makeup artistry, costume design, screenwriters, storyboard artists, cinematographers, all the way to the on-site PAs directing everyone where to go on set.

People grow up with dreams of making movies or being actors, if theaters disappear forever, what is left exactly? Sitting at home watching Netflix in your sweats? Attending a movie premiere on Zoom? Sure, it’s convenient. But that this is not what movies are made for.

I think during the lockdowns people were kind of warped into thinking life was going to change for good: work from home, watch Netflix or HULU, go to bed, and the next day do it all over again. But in my head I thought: what a ridiculous way to live. I was so bullish on movie theaters coming back seemingly “from the dead” it wasn’t even funny. 

Even just recently Avatar: Way of the Water briefly passed Titanic for the 3rd highest grossing film of all time (however, Titanic regained its number 3 spot as of February 18 with the 25th anniversary re-release), so are the news headlines really telling the whole story when they say movie theaters are “dead”? In Manhattan smaller theaters are re-opening up such as the Upper West Side’s newest dine-in theater coming in the summer replacing the Landmark 57 West—let’s be real: people still love going to the movies, and they will never stop making them.

I do not have kids, but if I did I would introduce them to the world of cinema as soon as they were ready; these stories are forever rooted inside of me and shaped my entire childhood and maybe even in a way influenced who I am today. And ultimately the big screen is the final destination for all of these visions to come to life; with a future of bright young minds and their experiences of this crazy world along with the currently existing masterminds I ask you this: why would anyone ever want movie theaters to go away?

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.