It seems as though the end of an era has occurred. With outrage and division, a pandemic, and injustices taking place all across the country, we seemed to have missed the fact that a whole industry had gone under right before our very eyes. A place that used to bring joy to kids and adults alike, a place to escape reality after a hard week of work or school, a place to enjoy, critique, and experience works of art made by thousands of talented people.

Local Regal movie theatre abandoned and shutdown. Photo by: Zoe Rivers
Local Regal movie theatre abandoned and shutdown. Photo by: Zoe Rivers

Sadly, this place is now considered a thing of the past. Movie theaters, and the American entertainment industry in general, are slowly dying and there’s nothing anybody can really do about it.

“TV Shows and movies have greatly help[ed] keep me engaged as a diversion from the current issues our world and country is facing,” said Aneesh Nannapaneni, a student at Klein Oak High School.

To those paying attention, this outcome has been a long time coming, with the rise of streaming services and illegal pirating, theater income has been at an all-time low. Even worse, because Covid-19 rolled into the U.S. in early 2020, theaters were forced to shut down along with many other businesses (big and small).

“I have been up to date with all movies coming out recently, whether they are in theaters or only on streaming services,” said Nannapaneni. “And [I] am looking forward to all the Netflix movies coming out this year.”

As of right now, people don’t typically go out to theaters anymore, or at least not like they used to. With the wide accessibility of renting and buying movies, or owning subscriptions to streaming services, nobody really cares about going out to a theater anymore, especially now with the coronavirus still raging on. Unlike before, though, it’s as if watching a movie is something to be left on in the background of your house rather than sitting down, enjoying, and watching it for what it is.

“In the first half of the twentieth century, going to the movies was like going to church: Americans did it almost every week,” said Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic. “Today, buying a movie ticket is more like going to the doctor—something many Americans never do and most Americans do only four or five times a year for routine cultural check-ups.”

Death of an Industry

The One Movie That Actually Is Scary | by The Howling Monkey | The Howling Monkey Magazine | Medium
The old American film industry was seen as one of the most creative and innovative pioneers of their time, but as of now, with the lack of public interest, Hollywood has taken a massive decline in the past few years. Photo courtesy of Medium.

Other than Covid, a major factor as to why the entertainment industry as a whole is dying is because of the lack of creativity, marketing, and the overall number of interesting movies altogether. We’ve seen the same old hero’s journey, the typical good v.s. evil, or worse of all the overabundance of blockbusters. American cinema used to be the face of what was known as modern cinema, but since the mid-2000s, mainstream Hollywood has had an inconsistent track record. Studios like Disney, Universal, and Warner Brothers have been at an all-time low (though some may disagree), with mainstream studios like these releasing some of the most lackluster and uninspiring products we’ve seen yet.

“Theaters have been crowded with sequels, reboots, and remakes, but as of recent it has been done to an excessive amount,” said Briana Bell, a writer for Medium. “They are a sure hit…, but this leaves room for a massive problem that will need to be addressed soon. With most…creative content coming from existing brands, as opposed to new, [the industry] is lacking in the creativity department.”

A New Era

The Unlikely Success of A24 - Big Picture Film Club
A24, an American independent entertainment studio/company, founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, John Hodges, and David Fenkel, creating memorable films like Hereditary, Ex Machina, A Ghost Story, and many more. Photo courtesy of BigPictureFilmClub.

Though these larger companies are still making millions, eventually they will milk all their products dry. After that, in comes a new era of cinema, right in your home with studios like A24, Annapurna Pictures, Amazon Studios, and even Netflix. What you see from these studios and companies is that they have consistently managed to put out the most interesting, creative, and innovative move productions of today.

Even with all that is going on today and in this world, it’s good to take a break once in a while to ignore the world around you as well as the politics and the drama. It’s good to just sit down and watch a movie, TV show, anime, or play a video game even. With the pandemic still going on and the lockdown just last year and the events that have just occurred, it sometimes seems as though the world is going crazy. So, because of that, sometimes it’s for the best to have a good escape from reality once in a while, all in the comfort of your own home.