There has been a rise in accessibility to movies over the last ten years or so. Companies such as Netflix and Amazon have redefined the ways we watch films. Many people have a negative gut reaction to this shift, but it was most likely unavoidable. Once Internet bandwidth caught up with our desire to watch movies on the world wide web, there was no way to stop it. Our social lives moved onto the Internet and our consumption of socially-mediated entertainment has followed.
It is hard to say that this has been 100% negative or 100% positive; but we have seen at least a few negative consequences. Local movie theaters are no longer revered in the same way. If you aren't concerned about the artistry of a film, you can just watch it on a substandard digital screen. But even cinephiles have very decent options for watching at home. For instance, digital projectors used to be something that the “cool rich kid” in your dorm had, but now I need two hands to count the number of my friends who own one.
When movie houses were first being built, the draw was that it was the only place you could even see the latest films. Movie houses spread like wildfire and so to differentiate themselves, some places started adding more screens or building drive-in establishments. But eventually, video came along. Movies didn't just belong to the studios anymore and theaters weren't the only place they lived. In response, theater owners moved to make movies a magical experience again. What did this look like? They installed state-of-the-art Dolby audio systems and cushy seats.
The new shift toward home film consumption is being battled by today's owners in similar ways. A number of technologies have been developed in the last decade or so with the intention of making the movie theater a one of a kind experience again. Sound systems and seats have gotten even crazier. Dolby Atmos has made movie sound frighteningly realistic (in a good way). And a company known as D-box has created a system called Dbox seating has developed a state-of-the-art seat system that syncs up with specific motion-enhanced films.
After streaming services, droves of critics point to it as the death of cinema. But if you look at the history of the form, you'll see that it has always been this way. Going out to the movies has lost its appeal a few times already. But theater owners have always found a way to bring the magic back. There are most likely at least some great local movie theatres in your vicinity, such as O'neil Cinemas Theaters Hampton Beach