January 10, 2024
WRITTEN BY: CALEB
I went to the movies a lot last year… like a lot, a lot. In the past few months, the theatre has even begun to feel like my home away from home. I’ve always loved going to the movies, but you know what? The more I go, the more I think there is some room for improvement. So, how can we make it better?
Below, I’ve compiled my own little wish list to outline some of the things I’d like to see theatres either add or enhance upon this year. Bear in mind, these are highly personal wants that are based on my specific experiences with theatres in Ontario, so this won’t be a universal list by any means. For those outside of Canada, especially if you live in a big city, there is a chance that your local theatres may have already granted some of my wishes (lucky you!).
So, with that said, let's skip any further delay and hop right into my 2024 movie theatre wish-list!
Bring On the Throwbacks:
One thing I’d really like to see more of is some good old-fashioned throwback screenings. I remember around my 15th birthday, Universal did a big re-release of Jurassic Park. Getting to watch that movie in a packed theatre was an absolute delight simply because having a chance to experience one of my all-time favourite films on the big screen for the first time was a dream come true. Now, this isn’t saying that I want every theatre to be filled with older movies. I obviously want new releases to have their time in the spotlight as well, but I think it’d be fun to have “Throwback Thursdays” or something similar. I know this isn’t unheard of (some small theatres and Cineplex locations already screen older movies on occasion), but I’d like to see it become more frequent. It would be especially cool if they were discounted, or if people got to vote for the movies online. Imagine walking into your local cinema to watch Gremlins, Back to the Future, or 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen. It would be a blast!
Jumping off my last point about classics, how about we bring back movie marathons too? Do you know how many stories I had to hear growing up about people going to watch a Star Wars marathon before The Phantom Menace, or a Harry Potter marathon leading up to The Deathly Hallows? I was too young to make it through one of those at the time, but I’m a grown man now, and I want to go to a marathon! I want to claim proudly that I sat through all nine Planet of the Apes movies before making it to Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Imagine how fun it would’ve been to watch a Spider-Man marathon before No Way Home. I would’ve been first in line! Unfortunately, it seems like movie marathons are becoming a thing of the past, or at least they are where I live. I’ve seen a few here and there for Star Wars and the MCU, but even those are usually relegated to specific theatres, most of which are outside of Canada. I can understand how the average person might not want to sit through seven or eight movies in a row, but I still think it’d be fun to have a few special events for the die-hard fans.
Keep Catering To The AV Crowd:
Let's talk about IMAX. No matter what anyone says… no matter how great your dad claims his surround sound is… there is absolutely no better way to watch a movie than in an IMAX theatre. The massive wall-to-wall screen, the crystal-clear laser projection, the near-deafening Dolby Atmos soundscape… it’s what cinematic dreams are made of. Getting a chance to see Oppenheimer in 70mm was one of the best theatre-going experiences I’ve had in a long time. It’s been announced that Dune: Part 2 will be getting a 70mm IMAX release as well, and you can bet your ass that I’ll be there opening night. All that is to say that I really like when theatres cater to the geeky, tech-y, film-kid part of my brain, and I hope to have a lot more experiences like that in 2024. This past July, Cineplex announced that it is adding five new IMAX systems across Canadian theatres, which is great news but not nearly enough. I’d really like to see theatres continue to focus on higher quality projection and sound, while moving further away from gimmicks like 3D glasses and moving seats. All that tacky nonsense just distracts from the experience. If you really want to make a movie-going experience better, make the screen bigger and the speakers louder.
More Sneak Preview Screenings:
Getting to see movies early is awesome! Pre-screenings just feel mysterious and exclusive, like you’re part of some secret club. When everyone else is talking about that hot new movie, you get to be the cool dude who confidently states “oh yeah… I saw it already.” They’re also great because they allow new films to get some much-needed word of mouth before their wide releases. I got to see a few sneak preview screenings this year, like Talk to Me and TMNT: Mutant Mayhem, but they still are relatively rare. Preview screenings spark fan engagement, they sell well, they’re great for publicity, and they’re just plain cool. Let’s do more of them in 2024.
Create Better Subscription Models:
If there is one trend that seems to be sticking around for good, it’s the subscription model. There is a subscription for damn near everything at this point: music, books, fitness, video games…you can even get food subscription plans now. Personally, I would love for theatres to hop on board and give movie fans some better options. Currently, I pay about $11 a month for Cineplex’s “Cineclub” membership. It gives me one complimentary movie, 20% off concessions, and two discounted “member-priced” tickets per showing. It’s a pretty good deal, honestly, but why not take it further? Imagine if you could pay somewhere closer to $30 a month and get unlimited screenings. That’d be amazing, and I’d pay it in a heartbeat. Hell, based on the number of movies I see in a month, I’d probably pay upwards of $40, especially if they began throwing IMAX or AVX screenings into the equation. Subscription models dominate almost every other form of media consumption, and for good reason. They give you a lot of bang for your buck, and they’re convenient. The average person might be hesitant to buy a $15 movie ticket, but if they had a subscription, they could be a lot less selective about what they choose to see. More people would go to the movies, and therefore, more people would buy concessions. Viewers are happy, theatres are happy. Sounds like a good idea to me.
Bring Back Proper Theatre Etiquette:
Instead of ending this article on something that I think theatres need to address, I’m going to end it on something I think we, as a society, need to address. This may be my biggest wish, actually. Frankly, we all need to learn how to behave in theatres again. I understand that the modern world is one of constant noise and distraction, but we should be able to make it through a movie without bothering the people around us. Look, I get it, I also have a really hard time sitting still and watching a TV show without pulling out my phone. I’m no stranger to TikTok brain-rot, so I know how hard it can be to pay attention to one thing for more than ten seconds. Still though, let's not make our short attention spans everyone else's problem. Movies aren’t free, and people pay good money to watch them. In 2024, I want us all to start arriving on time, turning our phones off, sitting still, and most importantly, keeping silent. If I could point to one thing that has ruined a lot of my theatre-going experiences this year, it would have to be the rowdy crowds. I think it’s absolutely crucial that movie-fans continue to support their local theatres, but it’s a whole lot harder to do that when inconsiderate audience members ruin the experience. Honestly, all I really want out of my 2024 theatres is a little bit of peace and quiet so I can enjoy the show.
Photo Credits: Photo 1 - Warner Bros.; Photo 2 - Associated Press; Photo 3 - IMAX; Photo 4 - Sony Pictures Releasing; Photo 6 - Mashable