The Movie Theater Experience

How COVID-19 has changed the movie theater experience

by Alejandro Olsen, Reporter

The salty crunch, and heavily artificial, but savory taste of buttered movie theater popcorn has been something long forgotten these past few months. To once again be submerged in comfy recliners that loosen up the soul, and prepare one for a journey into another world, is exciting, to say the least. The chaos of the pandemic continues, but after nearly six months, society has learned to adapt to the circumstances. 

The movie theater is a special place. There’s no other place where you can escape from the mundane to experience something completely ethereal. Procedures have changed, but there’s something welcoming about such a frequently visited place organizing itself. The now regulated snack lines, where customers are forced to stand 6-feet-apart in an orderly fashion seems like an improvement from the formerly bustling crowds who hurry themselves along while trying to be seated before their movie starts. Obviously, masks are required, and while not particularly desired, they’re a necessity for keeping everyone safe. The most notable change is to the Alamo Drafthouse theater, where tickets are required to be purchased online as well as food or drink. Ordering a spur-of-the-moment craving may be missed, but again, the core of the experience is still all the same.

A frequent online reader may question the worth of going, for a lot of anticipated movies have been delayed for months, and while taking the risk of COVID is up to the individual, there are still a variety of movies showing that maybe be worth seeing in person. From acclaimed director Christopher Nolan’s newest film, Tenet, to the third adventure in the Bill and Ted franchise, Bill and Ted Face the Music, there is an assortment of newly released movies to please the viewer’s taste. Alamo Drafthouse has released a calendar showcasing upcoming screenings of popular old flicks such as Wes Craven’s Scream, Jim Carrey-lead comedy The Mask, The Silence of the Lambs, Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, and Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman.

COVID-19 is another, albeit huge, factor in which we need to adapt to in these changing times. A lot of people are going, or have gone, stir crazy by being trapped in their homes these past few months. Movies have been watched at home on televisions, phones, and computers, so the value of the movie theater experience really depends on the person. But even if the experience isn’t all that unique, a change of scenery would admittedly do a lot to help one cope with the now socially-distanced society we’re heading towards. So, going to the theater now, this weekend, or next weekend wouldn’t be a bad idea as long as the procedures are followed because even with the importance of safety integrated into it, going to the movies is still mostly the same.