Ask yourself how many times have you visited the cinema this year. Or maybe you haven’t gone to the theater to watch a movie, but you have watched a movie at home.

As we all know, nowadays, people prefer watching movies through streaming services like Netflix rather than going to the theater.

Freshman psychology major Kate Kang says, “I prefer watching at home rather than at the theater because it’s comfortable and it’s not costly.” 

There was a significant trend during the pandemic where people were more interested in watching movies through streaming services. According to Film Track, by June 2020, the percentage of adults who strongly preferred seeing a movie in a theater fell to 14%, with 36% choosing to stream movies instead.

“I have been going more often with my friends, once a month, but the prices of the tickets are pretty expensive,” freshman nursing major Ian Jin said.

Jin believes that unreasonably high ticket prices and concessions make it less worth it, but many still invest their time and money into seeing movies in theaters.

Everyone can agree that COVID-19 first led the movement of watching movies through streaming services, and Netflix was one of the most significant streaming services that benefited. Because of this movement, no one went to the theaters, and many of them shut down, leaving them with deficits. 

“After COVID-19 hit, fewer people go to the movie theaters. To be honest, the quality is not as great as it was before. Watching Netflix and staying at home has become comfortable for people,” Jin said.  

Watching movies through Netflix with friends became the trend during the pandemic, and many movie theaters closed because customers preferred watching movies at home. 

According to CNBC, “Since 2019, the number of total (movie) screens in the U.S. has decreased by around 3,000 to just under 40,000.” 

Another reason people prefer watching it at home is comfort.

“I feel like it’s worth waiting to watch it on Netflix because we pay for the subscription, and many movies are streamed within a couple of months,” Kang adds.

Even with this shift, I believe that movie theaters in 2023 are having significant changes by incorporating newer technologies such as laser units and good-quality speakers, and they’re ready to compete against the streaming service.

“Oppenheimer is good to watch at the theater because cinematography is better in the theaters,” Jin claims. 

Although many think theaters are dying off, ticket sales have significantly increased by the start of 2023 over the past year. 

“Through Monday, the 2023 box office has tallied $958.5 million in ticket sales, up nearly 50% compared to last year and down just 25% from 2019, according to data from Comscore,” says Sarah Whitten from CNBC.

With this rate of people purchasing tickets, CNBC expects a rise in tickets will be more bought in 2023 as studios release more films. Furthermore, many theaters started to make changes in the theater to give customers a great experience. Theaters have replaced digital projectors with laser units. 

Malco Theatres said. “The more light you have the clearer everything is and the easier it is to see. In addition, replacement to laser units has a longer life span than digital projectors, so many theaters are planning for this plan. 

The theater explained that “traditional digital bulbs need to be replaced after around 2,000 hours and produce so much heat that theaters have to pay more to air-condition the projector rooms. And laser components last for 20,000 hours so they can go years without being replaced.” 

Also, many theater operators informed CNBC they plan to collaborate with Dolby to bring higher sound quality. Industries are replacing stadium seats with recliners so customers can enjoy the experience.