MOVIES: Home or Theater Entertainment ?

Movies are an enjoyable pastime that is loved by many. Genres range from romantic to comedy, scary to action-packed, sad to happy, and many more. Movie theaters have brought these films to life for more than a century, dating back to June of 1905. But, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted this from the theaters to fans’ own living rooms. The question is, after the lift on the mask mandate, which is the better option? Many fans are flocking to the theaters to see new releases, such as The Batman or Uncharted, while many other fans are choosing to stay within the comfort of their own home. There are many benefits to both, but which is the best choice for your next movie?

Popular still frame from the new Batman movie. (Hannah Trautner)

Theaters offer the best quality and sound a movie can offer, with a screen large enough to entertain 200-300 viewers at a time. You have a classic assortment of snacks to choose from, including buttered popcorn, soft drinks, and just about any candy you could think of. Some theaters like Movie Tavern offer additional dinner options such as chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, chewy pretzel bites, and many more! According to movie super-fan and Pennridge Film Production teacher, Hannah Godshall, “You’re almost always getting the best experience at a theater. I also find that I pay much better attention in a theater than at home where I use my phone or pause the movie.” That being said, movie ticket prices aren’t cheap. The average ticket prices range from $10-$13 for a child and $13-$16 for an adult. And if you choose to view the movie in any additional viewing quality (such as 3D or 4DX), the ticket prices will cost more. Not to mention the traditional overpricing on every food item at the snack stands. Your average popcorn ranges from $8.59 to $9.59, and your average drink from $6.29 to $6.79. That’s almost $17 for a single person, aside from the expense of tickets and travel expenses.  According to Godshall, “the downside to theaters is one obnoxious audience member can ruin an entire movie for me!”

On the other hand, watching a movie at home is far more wallet-friendly. With the absence of ticket pricing, overpriced food, and potential annoying peers, watching a movie in your own home gives you complete control of your surroundings. You are given the privilege to rewind, fast-forward, and pause for bathroom breaks without missing a beat. And without any restrictions on food, you are open to a plethora of whatever you’re feeling for the movie. The only downside, of course, is that you have to wait for any new release to come out on your local networks for you to watch at home. This not only leaves you vulnerable to any/all spoilers but is a major downside when you know other people have already experienced the movie. Although the theaters are more expensive, it may be worth it for what you get. According to local movie fan Tyler Menzel, “As nice as your living room/home theater might be, it’s not as good as a movie theater. You can make popcorn, but it’s not movie theater popcorn. Overall, I think the money is worth it.”

Still frame shot from the newly released Spiderman movie. (Hannah Trautner)

There are many pros and cons for either scenario and it may differ depending on whatever mood you may be in. But no matter what you’re feeling, make sure to take these thoughts into consideration to ensure your next movie experience is a success.