The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major contributor to movie theaters’ decline in both popularity and revenue.

It’s no surprise to hear that people are not as interested in going to the movie theater to watch the latest films. The pandemic shut down theaters and put movie production companies in a tricky situation following COVID-19 regulations while still producing content to continue making money. 

According to Wolfstreet, ticket sales collapsed from over 1.2 billion tickets sold in 2019 to just over 220 million in 2020, an 82% drop.

However, even though the pandemic is over and business has been picking up again, the industry has noticed that people are still less inclined to watch movies unless a well-known franchise like “Top Gun” or “Avatar” releases a sequel. 

The Numbers showed that while both box office and ticket sales have gone up since 2020, neither have reached the same level of sales in comparison to 2019. 

Why are people less interested in going to movie theaters?

The most notable factor is the rise of streaming services. Netflix truly started the rise in watching thousands of movies, TV shows and series from the comfort of sitting on your couch. With many Netflix movies, TV shows and projects winning awards and gaining recognition, the company has brought forth a new desire to enjoy entertainment from home, according to Product Habits

This emerging market of home entertainment began posing a major challenge for movie theaters.

Hollywood Insider summarized this challenge, stating, “Movie theaters around the country are closing their doors at an alarming rate. Theaters that have been around for decades are being forced to shut down and the culprit is something that is found in nearly every home in America. Streaming services are more popular now than they ever have been.”

The article goes on to point out that inconvenience, interest levels and prices are causing movie theaters to decrease in numbers. 

It’s well-known that tickets can be expensive depending on location, and that’s not including the prices for buying popcorn and a large soda, considering most locations don’t allow customers to bring food and drinks from outside the establishment. 

As the Dartmouth wrote, “The average price of a ticket to see one movie at the theater is $11 while the price for a basic monthly Netflix subscription is $9.99. Thus, some may see the growing preference for streaming services as a positive change — making movies more widely available and accessible for everyone.” 

Compared to the ticket price of one movie at the theater, paying around $10 a month to get a plethora of content is well worth my money because streaming services always try to add more to their sites, which allows more opportunities to watch new movies or ones I’ve never heard of before.

Plus, I can buy some popcorn and drinks at a much cheaper price from a store or restaurant whenever I decide to watch something from the comfort of my home.

In addition, one of the big reasons why I have enjoyed going to the movie theater in the past was because I got to watch cultural phenomenons like Marvel movies. My family enjoyed watching the story build up to “Avengers: Endgame,” which was so satisfying. But when that finished and the pandemic hit, Disney tried to compete against Netflix, leading to more Marvel content, but it was rushed and less polished.

The Review Geek said it best, “This sudden influx of content (and a notable decline in quality) hurt Marvel’s prospects of hitting huge numbers at the box office, essentially causing superhero fatigue all on their own.”

With Disney now having their own streaming service, this means fewer opportunities for movie theaters to be able to showcase films from one of the biggest movie studios in the world.

It should be noted, however, that movie theaters have had some success in keeping their businesses alive through making the experience more enjoyable or comfortable, adding more variety to their menus and promoting better marketing to catch people’s attention and to motivate them to attend theaters. 

CNBC pointed this out, stating, “As the space contracts, cinema operators are investing in the basics, improving sounds, picture quality and seating as well as in bolstering its food and beverage offerings, events and alternative programming. The aim is to improve the baseline experience for moviegoers regardless of the type of ticket they purchase.”

Even though the industry will probably continue to last for a long while, with streaming being more convenient and cheaper, I don’t see them ever becoming the prominent go-to spot for movies and blockbusters ever again.