Home Theater vs Movie Theater

In the age of COVID-19 and lockdowns still happening in some parts of the world, many were searching for things to do as restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars, and movie theaters were closed.  And when they were not, people were not quite comfortable going out, though some did continue life as normal.  This “new normal” changed our lifestyles and what entertainment means for us now. 

I am a huge movie goer, one who still steps foot into a movie theater (or what I grew up calling a “cinema”) at least once a week and am an active subscriber to pretty much every streaming service there is. Heck, I even have cable.  It is so important to me that I told my realtor when recently looking for a new house that the non-negotiable is a home theater. If the house does not have the space for it, or doesn’t already have one in it, I don’t want to see it.

One of my favorite apps is the AMC app where I am an A-List member and get to watch movies for only $23.95 per month, up to three times a week. Every chance I get to go on a date with my husband, we always go to a movie then dinner so we can critique the plot, the acting, the director’s choices, the cinematography, and everything that goes with the wonder of the movies. This is our usual routine and our favorite pass time.

You see, we have both been actors, we live in Los Angeles, the Capital of Entertainment, and now I am blessed to be a Hollywood TV and movie producer/financier. Part of going to the movies is for the love of the experience, and the other part is to stay up to date with what is current in the industry. Being that we have been in this pandemic for almost two years now, movie going was one of the most missed activities that I didn’t get to do so we were forced to turn to home theater.

Now a “home theater” in my true opinion is a dedicated room in the house that has Dolby Surround sound, dimmers with beautiful leather recliner seats and cup holders, maybe loveseats or enlarged comfy cushy lounge chairs, dark walls and plush carpet with little lights that may shine sweetly under the seats or up the steps, and maybe a cute old-fashioned popcorn machine and concession area for candy, nachos, and a bar. But because of the Coronavirus, most people’s living rooms or bedrooms have turned into a “home theater” by default.

Thanks to companies like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney +, HBO Max, Apple TV + etc.… there are so many exciting TV shows, movies and all the genres in between that we can watch. I know many will relate that sometimes there are so many titles, one could take as long as almost half a movie to find something! 

Some may argue that home theaters are now more attractive than movie theaters. The most advantageous reasons for staying at home to watch a movie is of course, you have the comfort of your own couch that you know doesn’t have Covid germs or viruses lingering around, you can pause the movie at any time, you can wear anything or nothing, you can make any meal you want, and you only have to pay a reasonable monthly fee to be able to get access to endless titles. 

On the other hand, the advantages of going to a movie is the dedicated period of 90 minutes or so to completely switch off and focus on a story on a big, beautiful screen, with a professional sound system. And you may agree, certain action movies (The James Bonds and the Marvel movies of the world) are better experienced here, especially after you’ve grabbed the junky yet delicious variety of food and beverages someone else prepared at the concession stand. Some may even love the tradition of making it an official outing with family or friends. 

There is something to be said about being in a dark room and focusing all your emotions and feelings towards someone else’s life and you can switch off all your woes and stresses. Yes, you can get that when you are watching a movie at home, but I would argue that at home, you can easily get distracted and more likely to grab your remote control and pause the movie if a call or text comes in. In a movie theater, you would more likely ignore the phone.

I don’t really know exactly why I love the act of going to a movie so much since I can watch anything I want at home but still, I am willing to make the effort to get dressed and go so often and there is still this giddy feeling I get when I reserve my seat and have something to look forward to. I even love going by myself sometimes.

Nowadays with the luxurious movie theaters that even have servers and a la carte menus, that is another upgrade that I choose and am ok to pay a premium for. At the end of the day, I do think it is still worth it to pay to go to the movies, to support the art of filmmaking and be the first to watch a movie and tell your friends and share on social media what you thought. And then of course the alternative, it is very comforting to know one can choose to have a home theater movie experience, have a bathroom break and not have to miss anything, while renting a new release through one of the many streaming services available.

We are so lucky we have choices and as a Producer, I encourage you to continue to go to the movies and enjoy the show!

Didi Wong

Didi Wong is an International Multiple Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Business Mentor, Angel Investor, Venture Capitalist, Serial Entrepreneur, Interior Designer, and Best-Selling Author.

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