Now that the megaplex has taken over all across the nation, I feel it’s time to reflect back upon the movie theatres of yesteryear. And by yesteryear, I mean the 90’s.
As a kid, I remember the theatre that I would go see movies was called Georgetown Cinemas. It was right beside the Miracle Mart (no longer) in a strip plaza. This theatre had a whopping 3 movie theatres! That’s right, 3. You walked in and paid right at the front door. It had low hanging ceilings and always had the scent of mould. The snack bar (if it deserves to be called that) consisted of the basics: pop, candy and popcorn. The syrup never seemed to be mixed at the right ratio, it was either too watery or way too sweet. They always put way too much butter on the popcorn, so it was a pile of gunk by the time you hit the bottom of the bag. When you went into your theatre, you sat in those squeaky chairs that had that burlap style fabric in colours like brown, orange and yellow. And they were not stadium seating, so you were out of luck if someone tall decided to sit right in front of you. The theatre was also designed in a way that anytime the door opened, all the light would come pouring into the theatre from the lobby. The one thing I remember most is how sticky the floors were. No matter when you went to see a movie, it seemed like they were permanently covered in gunk. The screen was about 1/4 the size of modern cinemas, and the surround sound was not THX Certified. They just had speakers around the theatre that gave the illusion of a 5.1 audio soundtrack. Regardless, I have fond memories of seeing such epic films as Jurassic Park, Titanic and The Matrix in this theatre.
Compare that to the movie theatres on steroids that exist now: With 20 screens, 500 seat theatres, and endless food options (I’m talking to you Burger King, Pizza Pizza and YogenFruz). No longer is picking a movie experience a simple choice, you need to decide if you want to see it the normal way, VIP, Ultra AVX, IMAX, IMAX 3-D, or D-Box, . It also can cost upwards of $20 dollars to see a movie depending on how many bells and whistles you would like. And that’s without all the snacks and other garbage you can buy. The studios and theatres wonder why people are spending more money on home theatre systems and staying home. I’ll tell you why, it’s much easier to sit on my couch infront of my 42″ LCD TV with surround sound these days than it is to drive through suburbia, navigate myself through the food court to the theatre that seems further away than the moon and attempt to watch a movie with 15 year olds on their iPhones texting throughout the movie. And don’t get me started on the 20 minutes of advertising before the movie…
Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing an epic action flick like Transformers in all it’s HD glory on a massive screen with amazing surround sound. But at the end of the day, I still miss the simple movie going experiences I had as a kid. Maybe someone will bring back the simple theatre, where it’s about the movie and not all the other stuff.
How do you feel about the movie going experience of today vs. in the past? Leave a comment below.