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The Death Of Movie Theaters


The movie Turning Red, released in 2022 by Pixar Studios, has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7/10 on IMDB. With reviews like that, you would think that this movie did fairly well. However, according to The National News, Turning Red lost about $168 million dollars at the box office. Why is this the case? Well, it may have something to do with the rise in streaming platforms. People may see it as a better use of money to wait until a theatrical release is over. There can be quite a few benefits to watching at home; food is cheaper, you can pause at any time, and no distractions (unless you have pets)! But what effect will this have on movie theaters, and what will the future of entertainment look like?

First, let’s go over the history of movies and TV. According to the Science and Media Museum, the earliest form of movie watching with the use of a Kinetoscope was made by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, a British employee of the Edison Company. However, this machine only allowed one person at a time to watch a film and lost popularity quickly after the Cinématographe came along. The first time an audience paid to watch a project movie was in December 1895, in Paris, France, via the use of a Cinématographe, created by the Lumière brothers. These were much closer to the modern theaters we have today. Coming to the US, some of the first theaters were Vitascope Hall (Opened July 1896) in New Orleans, Louisiana, and The Nickelodeon (Opened June 1905) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Fun fact, They were called Nickelodeons because they cost a nickel)

Now, for some TV history! According to Cornell and NYU, the first successful display of a working television was in September 1927 in San Francisco, made by 21-year-old Philo Taylor Farnsworth. However, it wasn’t until around the 1940s that TV started becoming truly mainstream. Around 1949, you would need to be within range of a TV station to actually receive a broadcast, however, the number of stations was increasing at this time. The mid-50s to the ’60s were really the golden age of television, coming out with kid’s programs like the showing of Peter Pan in 1955, which attracted 60 million viewers, and shows like The Mickey Mouse Club. They also had comedies aimed at slightly older audiences like I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners. Around this time we also see some of the earliest forms of quiz or game shows.

For a long time, both were thriving and for decades, were the dominant forms of entertainment. The tides would start to turn in the mid to late 90s, with the creation of one of the oldest and most successful streaming platforms for studio-produced Movies and TV. Netflix was founded in August of 1997, in Scotts Valley, CA. And as of October 12th, 2023, according to Stock Analysis, Nexflix has a net worth of $161.87 billion. In the coming 2 decades, a few other big streaming platforms will emerge like Hulu and Prime, and will gain popularity, but still seem to flow well with Cable and Film. This is up until, the wake of Covid-19. As we remember, the pandemic permanently parts of our world. And as we were stuck at home, the need for entertainment rose greatly. During the years of COVID-19 streaming was rising significantly because of the fact that people were unable to go out. COVID-19 was one of the prime causes of the death of the movie theatres. COVID-19 was the reason that movie theatres died out so quickly.

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However, people may want to return to theaters after so long of needing to stay away. We surveyed over 80 students and staff around campus, 69% of students/staff say they would much rather see a movie in theaters vs 31% waiting for it to come on streaming. And with movies like Barbie, Spiderman Across the Spiderverse, and Oppenheimer, we may be seeing the comeback of movie theaters.

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About the Contributors
Angel Jimenez
AJ is a senior at Buena Park who works with the Journalism team to provide the school with a trustworthy and reliable news source. As a person AJ likes to draw, read, watch all forms of content and media which helps when working on the journalism team as well as go to school activities and events.
Calleigh Ellis
Calleigh is a writer on the Journalist team. She has been in Journalism for 3 out of her 4 years of High School. She is the editor-in-chief as well. She tries to do her best to catch any grammar errors that are made. She helps her team write smoother sentences. In her free time, Cali like to make different artwork pieces. She enjoys painting, reading, drawing, listening to music, and playing different video games. She loves Stardew Valley and Minecraft. Her music taste varies from many different genres of music
Jay Carroll
Jay Carroll is a Sophomore and this is her second year in Journalism. She hopes to continue to bring news and stories that matter to the students of Buena Park High School. When Jay is not working on Journalism, she is a dedicated member of the Coyote Corps Color Guard. She also enjoys shows like Arcane, Movies like Corpse Bride, and a wide variety of music.

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