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After more than a year, a movie night at a theater is once again an option for most residents. Nearly all COVID-19 restrictions in the state were lifted on May 29 and with that came the re-opening of movie theaters.
Earlier last month, before the lift went into effect, the Coolidge Corner Theatre reopened its doors for in-person screening. The demand for tickets was so great that their ticketing page was overwhelmed and had to be shut down twice, signaling that many were ready to get back into the theater.
We asked Boston.com readers if they were excited to get back to movie theaters. Of the more than 200 respondents, 49% said they were eager to watch on the big screen. Another 36% said they would continue to stream their movies at home, and 14% said they’d be giving it some more time before they returned.
Jess Brennan told Boston.com that the movies are like a second home to her and her husband.
“We’ve been missing the movie theater so much that we got married at the Coolidge Corner Theatre during the pandemic,” Brennan said. Going to the movies is a full sensorial experience with bright visuals, loud sounds, the smells and tastes of candy, popcorn, and soda, and cushy seats. I miss it so much!”
The pandemic has been especially hard on the global film industry, which lost an estimated $5 billion in revenue. Many studio releases in the last fourteen months have either been delayed or sent straight to streaming services. In Greater Boston, at least three theaters have closed for good including Showcase in Revere, ArcLight at Hub on Causeway, and Showplace Icon in the Seaport. Their loss has been felt among our movie-lovers.
“There is nothing like watching on the big screen. It is cheaper than streaming because you pay just for the movie you want to see,” one reader said. “I’ll be going to AMC Boston Common since Arclight is closed — please reconsider Arclight!”
For some readers, however, a year of streaming from their own couches has spoiled them to the perks of the at-home viewing experience.
“Even before the pandemic theaters were germ-filled cesspools,” another reader said. “Now that I’ve rediscovered how much more enjoyable it is to watch a first-run film from the luxury of my own home, there’s no going back.”
Last year, Warner Bros. said it would simultaneously release all 2021 films in theaters and through the streaming service HBO Max. With studios and streaming services making it so easy to watch movies at home, many readers see no need to go back to their pre-pandemic habits.
“I enjoy watching new movies at home. I hope this streaming trend stays,” said Alex of Lexington. “Watching movies at theaters in 2021 is like listening to a cassette instead of an online music streaming service.”
Ahead, read what more of our readers had to say about getting back to the movies.
Responses were lightly edited for clarity.
“Honestly, I’m not a huge movie theater guy, but I’m ready and willing to do ANYTHING normal right now.”
“I miss the IMAX theatre experience at Jordan[‘s] Furniture, cannot wait for the big summer movies!” — James, Quincy
“Big screen, super resolution, big sound coupled with small audience and food service is the theater’s advantage. If they follow necessary hygiene protocols, they should be safe. We like Showcase SuperLux in Chestnut Hill.” — Robert Saltzman
“I just love the experience of being around others who have never seen the film before. Plus, popcorn and a soda! I will go to the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline.” — Rich Moriarty
“I’m fully vaccinated. My main theater is Coolidge whose safety precautions have been both robust and transparent. I’ve already seen two films at the Coolidge and have tickets for next Thursday to see the new Almodóvar short film.” — Robert
“Better and cheaper snacks and drinks, plus a pause button for bathroom breaks. What’s not to like?”
“I look forward to going to any theater when there are movies worth going to see. There are only so many comic book movies/sequels/remakes that I can take. And the big studios seem to want to make those to supplement the think-pieces and Oscar movies that don’t make filmmakers any money but win them self-congratulatory awards from their peers. The industry as a whole is due for a major reckoning.” — Chris
“There’s so much we can access from home, so I’ll likely do most of my movie watching that way. However, I will keep going to 3D/4D options when available.”
“I already pay for streaming from the comfort of my couch with better snacks. Not going to sit with a full capacity venue when it’s still too uncertain. A movie is not worth it.” — Kate
“Why would I want to watch a movie with dozens of strangers, floors covered with who knows what? The whole experience just doesn’t do it for me anymore.”
“Love the movies, not sure if I’ll rush out right away but I’m planning on going for sure! Maybe a matinee on a Tuesday to miss the crowds!”
“It’s a bit early for that. I don’t see movie theaters being able/willing to enforce mask mandates, and only half the population is fully vaccinated.”
“I’ll be back to moviegoing, but will wait. Not for COVID worries, but to prepare myself for the idiots who don’t turn off their phones during the show.”
“The two theaters I was most looking forward to returning to were the Showplace Icon and the Arclight. Sadly, both are victims of the pandemic. Honestly, I had hoped that AMC would fall to the pandemic, paving the way for both of those to thrive.”
Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.
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