Why Go See a Film In Theaters?


‘Why would you ever go see a movie in theaters if you could watch it at home?’ This was a legitimate question I was asked once and I’m sure a lot of people honestly probably feel the same way.  This past weekend I had the opportunity to go see Psycho at the local theater here in New Orleans. (Shoutout to the Prytania). I’ve seen Psycho probably 5 times prior, but none of the viewing experiences even came close to this one. While I knew each sequence of the film, I still found myself in both a constant state of suspense and shock. Of course, that might have been the doing of the great Hitchcock, but I think there are a few other reasons why seeing a film in theaters is so much more impactful.

For starters, there’s a few social norms that have to be upheld in the theater. No talking and no texting. This forces you to put the side conversations and phones away and give your undivided attention to the screen. This is something that’s completely lost at home. Not only is it not as engaging watching a film on a regular tv, but you’re surrounded by distractions as well as no one else who will judge you for getting distracted or being a distraction. Now you have no choice but to be fully engaged with what’s unfolding in front of you.

On top of that, sound plays such a crucial part in your perception of your film. Whether you watch a movie through the speakers on your tv, your headphones, or in a theater, the experience is going to be completely different. In theaters you get that badass sound system that what’s happening in front of the camera, get’s played through speakers up front while all the action behind the camera plays out the speakers in the back. What this does is put you smack dab in the middle of the story. You’re no longer a spectator watching through a screen, you’re alongside the characters in the story. 

Furthermore, I think a large reason why it’s hard for people to appreciate or find the appreciation for old films, his because we rarely, if ever, have the same opportunity to experience in the manner it was intended. Obviously, there are other reasons why people can’t latch on to older films, because of technology and advancements in storytelling and acting. But, when you get that opportunity to experience a classic in a theater, that’s the closest you can get to time travel. 

- Tristan Chandra