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Are movie theaters dying out?

Are movie theaters dying out?
   Reading time: 7 Minutes

German cinemas are under quite a lot of pressure, especially the smaller or more rural ones. Because these small cinemas in particular are having to close more and more frequently, and large cinema companies are also reporting fewer and fewer successes. So will German cinemas die out in the near future?

Streaming vs. cinema

Traditional cinema has had strong competitors for some time now: Home cinema and streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. These have been pushing cinemas back for years, with no end in sight!

Global technological progress is normally a blessing for many, including cinema operators. However, it is now the case that, precisely due to this rapid technical progress, things are getting better and better, which was otherwise a unique experience in the cinema. On the one hand, this includes the sound system, which “back then” could only be experienced in this modern form in the cinema, as it was not affordable for the general public.

Today, however, you can buy a pretty good sound system for home for just a few hundred euros, so you have a piece of cinema for home. Because of the sound, you don’t have to visit a movie theater today!

Also, the screens for computers and televisions are getting bigger with each passing year. On top of that, more and more people are building their own home theater with a screen, sound system and projector.

Crucially, however, there is an insanely large supply on demand, delivered to us at the click of a mouse! It’s still the case that the latest blockbusters can only be seen in cinemas, but everything else is now available online.

Cinema is more expensive than streaming, right?

The way we watch movies and series has also changed in recent years. While some time ago you could only watch one episode of your favorite series per week, now you can watch a series marathon at any time!

Another point is that cinemas are becoming more and more expensive these days. A visit to the cinema for two costs about as much as a return flight to London, Paris or Milan! This makes one wonder, and rightly so, whether a visit to the cinema is still worthwhile. The high prices for the tickets split into two aspects.

On the one hand, the producers want to cover the production costs incurred and make a profit on the side, on the other hand, the cinema must of course cover its own costs (rent, electricity, water, technology, …)! However, this creates a vicious circle…The higher the general ticket prices become, the fewer potential viewers there may be, the higher the final prices that the cinema must charge to make ends meet.


Costs incurred when visiting a movie theater

1.) The journey by car or train, plus a possible parking fee.
2.) The ticket prices
3.) Snacks and drinks

Even the cheapest cinema tickets now cost €7, but the average is €11.50 per person per ticket.

To the ticket prices usually come snacks and drinks, a medium popcorn costs about 6.50€ and a medium drink about 5€. If you now add all this up, a visit to the cinema costs 23€ per person, if you now make a family trip to the cinema, you pay 92€ for an average of four people, plus the expenses for travel and parking!


Consequences of the cinema change

Visitors’ demands are rising
Anyone who spends a lot of money expects to be offered a lot. And the more expensive the tickets, the more the audience expects, of course! So it’s not surprising that big spectacles like Avengers or Mission Impossible run for weeks in theaters, while smaller productions aren’t even shown in some places! Blockbusters drive audiences into the halls with their effects, name recognition and lots of movie advertising….

Small cinemas can no longer keep up
Unlike large cinema companies, such as CineStar, small cinemas have less budget at their disposal. Likewise, fewer employees. Small cinemas may have a cultural charm, but it is not very profitable….

Fewer cinemas in the near future
Although subsidies and political measures are intended to contribute to the preservation of rural and smaller cinemas, there will probably be fewer cinemas in the future! The small cinemas will need specific offers, while the large cinemas will focus on the spectacle and the event character.


Are movie theaters dying out?

Now, of course, the legitimate question arises as to what the future holds for German cinemas in the near and distant future. We have also been thinking about this, especially in relation to cinema and streaming services. On gutefrage.net, we started a survey with the question: “Does anyone still go to movie theaters?”

The results:

Generally speaking, there is currently no reason to talk about the extinction of movie theaters. At the moment, Germans (on average) are in a good financial position, and the low interest rate favors spending on experiences and leisure activities. Large-scale projects by American studios also make people optimistic about the future.

Nevertheless, the large cinemas in particular are bracing themselves for worse times, which could come at any time, by getting bigger or better.


The conclusion:

Yes, cinemas don’t really have it easy to hold their own against streaming services or home cinema. Despite all this, there is no reason to speak of a “dying” of cinemas, because the number of visitors is still high and good! Just by the fact that new movies can only be seen in cinemas is a plus for cinemas! So: No, our cinemas will not “die out”.

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