While movie die-hards debate whether “La La Land” or “Fences” will take home the Best Picture honor at Sunday’s Academy Awards, Hollywood is facing a tough reality – how to keep people coming to the theater.

Box office revenue and ticket sales have plateaued over the past few years, and even faced a slight decline from last year, according to The-Numbers, a site that analyzes movie data and trends. What might be most alarming is the lack of millennials choosing to go to the theaters; the demographic has seen a steady drop in admissions since 2012, according to a recent report from the MPAA.

The decreasing number of millennial moviegoers isn’t news to Hollywood producer and CEO of Lin Pictures Daniel Lin. Lin specifically targeted the millennial demographic while producing the LEGO Batman movie, the second in a series of films following the LEGO movie, which topped the box office for two straight weekends after its release earlier this month.

“There’s just so much competition for eyeballs. You know I look at millennials who work in my office and they’re constantly on social media, they’re watching movies on their phones, they don’t necessarily go to the theater that much – it [must] be a big event to go,” Lin said.

And as millennials turn away from the traditional movie experience, streaming services are thriving.

Between Q4 2014 and Q4 2016, the total number of domestic online streaming subscriptions increased 26.3 percent, according to Netflix data. Netflix subscriptions alone rose nearly 11 percent.

In 2014, over 40 percent of U.S. households used some type of streaming services, according to a Nielsen report. And in 2016 during a conference in Las Vegas, Nielsen revealed that number rose to 52 percent according to The Wall Sreet Journal.

But rather than viewing cord-cutting and streaming services as the impending doom of the big screen, Lin said he is “fully embracing” the technology.

“I believe they can coexist, that streaming services and movies can coexist. Services like Netflix are great for our business because they just encourage that type of great story telling, great filmmaking that then encourages studios to take bigger risks,” Lin said.

He even has plans in the future to build a “combination of a live action and animation Pixar in Los Angeles.”

“You know the movie business is tougher than ever, it’s flattening out, some say it’s declining, technology is really challenging us. But the one thing that I believe that will usurp all that is great storytelling. So, what can I do to create an environment for great storytelling? That’s my focus.”

Does anyone here still go to the theaters?  If not, why?  What could be done to enhance the experience of going to the movie theaters?  I have gone to a dinner and movie a couple times with my fiancée, and I believe the experience there is enough to keep me coming back, and they have amazing pizza.  When I lived in Germany, they would serve snacks, mostly ice cream, before a movie.  My local theater now has reclining seats, and I have seen some with beds.  Did “D-BOX” do anything for you?  When I worked in retail, my big pitch was to bring the theater to the home, but what could bring the theater back to the theater?  I would love to hear your input.

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Jesse Skeen

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It simply COSTS too much to go to a movie nowadays, and the quality of the experience just gets worse. Sillymark recently opened a brand-new theater (and tore down a great 1960s widescreen dome theater to make room for it) and ALL of its screens are natively 1.85 without even any masking, so all widescreen movies are letterboxed just like at home. With a presentation similar to what I get at home, why should I bother going out?
 

Josh Steinberg

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It simply COSTS too much to go to a movie nowadays
This has certainly come up in other threads before, but at the risk of repeating myself, I think cost more than anything is why we get more and more big giant franchise movies from familiar properties, remakes, reboots, etc and not much else, and why those are the only things people seem to be willing to pay for these days.

Granted, I probably live in the most expensive movie market in the country, but the cost of an IMAX 3D ticket has been raised yet again (it last went up three months ago) to $26.29. A RealD 3D ticket is generally about $20, and a standard 2D ticket is generally about $16. To put that into perspective, a new release 2D Blu-ray normally costs about $20 (and will end up costing about half of that after being out a few months), and a new release 3D Blu-ray or 4K UHD disc costs about $25. So it's actually the same price or cheaper to buy a single disc to watch as many times as I want as it costs to see it in theaters once. For two people going to the movies, it'll definitely be cheaper to buy the disc on it's street date than to buy two tickets to the theater. I realize that my prices are higher than a lot of other areas, but prices seem to on a neverending upwards climb.

As an example - there were two movies coming out in IMAX that my wife and I potentially had interest in. One was 2D, one was 3D, but the price of both types of ticket is still over $25 each, so for my wife and I to see one of those movies, it would be more than $50. One of them is "Logan" which we decided to purchase tickets for - we enjoy Jackman's portrayal of the character even when the movies haven't always been great, so we're reasonably sure that we'll enjoy it and are expecting that we might even love it. For $50+, that was a minimum criteria to get us in the door. It's just too much money to spend on something that we don't know if we'll enjoy. I suspect a lot of people are making similar calculations.

For the recent Best Picture movies, I saw them all in theaters this year, which I wouldn't normally have done. Regal offered a $35 pass to see them all over a ten day period. (It also included the option to purchase a medium popcorn and soda combo for only $5 - you could buy as many of these combos as you wanted.) If I had paid to see them all individually in theaters, it would have been about $150 for one ticket to each and that's just the cost for me. If I had opted to rent them at home (all of the nominees except one or two are available for rent), that would have been about $45 right now. (And as many people as could fit in my living room could watch for the same price.) Within a couple months, most will be on Netflix, so it'll be even less. Very few of this year's nominees really demanded to be seen on a giant screen, and with the exception of La La Land, none were released in IMAX so none were available to be seen on the largest screens in the first place.

It has gotten so expensive to go out to see a movie.

What would make me go back to the movies more regularly? Simple. Make it so that each movie ticket isn't a major financial decision. When a pair of tickets costs more than $50, there are a lot of things that I'm happy to wait for the disc or the stream to check out at home. If theaters brought the costs down so that a pair of tickets once again cost less than buying the disc to own forever, then it would be a lot easier to return to theaters more often and take more chances on a wider variety of movies in theaters. I don't like that things are as expensive as they are - I feel like I'm being forced out of a hobby that I've loved my entire life and I'm not happy about it.
 

BobO'Link

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Cost is the prime reason I no longer go to the theater. Both admission and concessions.

I can typically wait 6-12 months and purchase the film on disc for the cost of a single ticket, or less, and watch it in my home as many times as I wish. The "experience" is better as there are no forced pre-feature commercials, no rude patrons, no drive to the theater and back, and food that's superior to that in the theater at far more reasonable prices.
 

jcroy

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For some strange reason, I frequently "blank out" when I'm at the theater.

I don't remember anything about the movie I just saw, when I walk out of the theater after the end credits roll.
 

Jesse Skeen

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Granted a GOOD theater presentation is worth going out for (but I would still have to draw the line at a $26 ticket!) but those are few and far between. There's no theater in my area that I'd go to just to experience the theater regardless of what they were showing.

Sad that even with interest in 3D declining, the greedy studios won't wake up and DROP the upcharges for it. Instead they're letting theater run more 2D showings (which they shouldn't be doing, period as I consider that altering the movie) since so many people don't want to pay the upcharges. I've heard IMAX theaters aren't going to be showing "family" movies in 3D anymore because of the total cost for a family to go to a show- so that 3D equipment that cost so much is sitting there doing NOTHING!
 

Josh Steinberg

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Granted a GOOD theater presentation is worth going out for (but I would still have to draw the line at a $26 ticket!) but those are few and far between.
To give credit where credit is due, for the price IMAX charges, they consistently deliver a quality performance at the theaters they control that I visit. On the very rare occasions when something wasn't right, IMAX went out of their way to make up for it. I've gotten a level of customer service from IMAX that I simply haven't experienced at any other theater.

I've heard IMAX theaters aren't going to be showing "family" movies in 3D anymore because of the total cost for a family to go to a show
I noticed that Lego Batman Movie was only in IMAX 2D, but my conversation with IMAX led me to believe that this was due to studio preference. They are aware that some of their customers prefer 2D films, and over the past year or so, I've noticed that they've tried to include the occasional 2D showing of a 3D movie as part of the mix - I don't object as long as the 3D version remains available. But I don't think it's a response to cost. At every IMAX theater I've been to, the cost difference between an IMAX 2D presentation and an IMAX 3D presentation has ranged from no difference at all to an extra dollar. If someone is willing to pay the $5-10 upcharge to go from a standard auditorium to an IMAX auditorium, I don't think an extra fifty cents is really going to affect anything. (If anything, that's why my local IMAX raised prices thirty cents just recently - I'm sure they figured that if I was willing to spend $25.99 on a movie, that $26.29 wouldn't be a dealbreaker.)
 

Edwin-S

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Sad that even with interest in 3D declining, the greedy studios won't wake up and DROP the upcharges for it. Instead they're letting theater run more 2D showings (which they shouldn't be doing, period as I consider that altering the movie) since so many people don't want to pay the upcharges. I've heard IMAX theaters aren't going to be showing "family" movies in 3D anymore because of the total cost for a family to go to a show- so that 3D equipment that cost so much is sitting there doing NOTHING!
Ha ha, Really. I don't even bother with the 3D glasses available at the theatre. I use the clip-ons that came with my LG set. Charging 13 bucks for a 3D film feels like a rip-off when I can use my own glasses now.
 

Edwin-S

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Wow. You definitely have my sympathy. i don't like to rub salt in the wound, but if I really want to be cheap I can go to a Tuesday showing for 10 bucks for 3D and 8 for a regular showing. Unfortunately, part of that pricing structure is due to the fact that movie attendance and caring about the theatrical experience where I live is relatively low. They have to price competitively to draw a crowd that would be just at home watching on a 7" screen as on a 50 footer.

The downside is that the theatre just doesn't get the love and attention it needs for a really decent experience. The presentation is passable, but I believe it could be a lot better. We also can't get a stadium seating-style theatre which I would sorely like to have here.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Wow. You definitely have my sympathy. i don't like to rub salt in the wound, but if I really want to be cheap I can go to a Tuesday showing for 10 bucks for 3D and 8 for a regular showing. Unfortunately, part of that pricing structure is due to the fact that movie attendance and caring about the theatrical experience where I live is relatively low. They have to price competitively to draw a crowd that would be just at home watching on a 7" screen as on a 50 footer.

The downside is that the theatre just doesn't get the love and attention it needs for a really decent experience. The presentation is passable, but I believe it could be a lot better. We also can't get a stadium seating-style theatre which I would sorely like to have here.
I think unfortunately I might have the worst of both worlds - we have extremely high prices here, but I don't think attendance is necessarily any better. Maintenance certainly isn't. Theater chains here still follow the model of building or renovating a new theater, and then letting it slowly fall into disrepair over an extended period to the point where the only option is to do another expensive renovation. I just saw all of the current Best Picture nominees at my local Regal as part of their festival, and after seeing so many movies in such a short period in the same building, the thing that struck me is that each of their auditoriums has developed one minor issue or another, just from general wear and tear, and none of it is being addressed. They've offered free passes if you complain about a problem, but they don't actually ever fix any of them. Some of these things I'm sure could be done inexpensively, it would just be a matter of staying late a few nights, or closing the theater on a Monday or Tuesday. But that doesn't seem to be in their business plan. They'll run it to the ground, and then when people stop showing up altogether, will either close it down and sell off the real estate, or renovate the entire thing and reopen. But either way, it's become apparent to me over the past year that nothing will actually be fixed. And that's why I generally avoid that particular theater whenever possible, even though it's significantly closer to me than any of the theaters I regularly go to.
 

sleroi

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The main reasons I rarely go to the theater are cost and time. I recently took my wife and 3 kids to the batman lego movie, an afternoon showing. $68 for tickets and $34 for drinks and popcorn. I cant afford that every couple of weeks, especially when I can wait 3 months and either buy it, stream it or get it from redbox. And the only time I have to go by myself, (I have enough willpower to forgo drinks and popcorn), is on the weekend. And with a wife and 3 kids there is always too much going on.
 

Cranston37

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Cost isn't a killer for me. My local theater has a deal on Tuesdays where for $5 you get a reserved seat in one of those reclining leather chairs and a large popcorn. Huge screen. Dolby Atmos. No crowd. I just go then ;)
 

DaveF

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I only wish I could go to my local theater more often. It's reserved seating, dine-in. They've got a great atmosphere and there's not talking or texting going on. I'd go weekly if I could. But I'm of a point in life where the theater is just too loud and I can't enjoy it like I used to. So, the spirit is willing (along with the wallet) but the flesh is weak.

So, I'm spending too much money on hardware and software at home.
 

Bobofbone

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Limited selection where I'm currently at. I'm working in the rural northwest in a small town. There is a 2 screen theater, and the selection isn't great. The theater is not to up to date, but I still enjoy it. It has commercials to watch before the movie, but I have to admit, I don't see "John Deer" advertisements before the movie at home.

When I'm home, my screen, seats, food and sound beat nearly all the theaters in the area. It generally has to be something my wife and I really want to see when it comes out, or we wait.
 

George_W_K

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For me, it's partly cost, and partly having an enjoyable home experience. I still like to go to the theater for the big blockbuster releases, but smaller releases I can wait to view at home.

But, the increasing number of people I bump into that when I bring up a show I started watching on Netflix, or a movie I'm going to see, that ask me why I don't have a jail broken Firestick yet is alarming to me. They're watching new releases at home.