Where Have All of the Movie Theaters Gone?

The last few years have proven notably bad for theaters. People just aren’t going out to the movies anymore. The number of moviegoers has hit an all-time low in North America. There is no doubt that the movie theater experience has changed in the past few years, but with all the amenities that a theater has to offer, it is still surprising to see more and more empty seats. So why is this happening? Going to the movies has been a fun and desirable pastime since the first U.S. theater opened in 1894. What has changed? Well, here are just a few big reasons why people aren’t going to the movies anymore:

  1. Ticket prices are on the rise after fluctuating dramatically over the years. Also, the price of concessions has been marked up to insane prices.
  2. Overall, there are not as many blockbuster movies being released as in previous years.
  3. With so many at-home options to stream and watch movies, staying home on a Saturday night has never been so desirable. Video on demand and pay-per-view providers are releasing newer movies and have more expansive libraries. Many subscription-based platforms are releasing their own original shows and great films.
  4. Better quality TV is generating many more viewers. Some shows have started to maintain certain qualities that were usually associated with films. HD quality means watching a show on TV can be just as beautiful an experience as watching a film in a theatre.
  5. Streaming options make TV more accessible and have created a binge-watching culture. People now enjoy watching hours of their favorite shows as opposed to a shorter viewing time of a film.

Today’s movie megaplexes may offer endless cinematic choices but as buildings go, they all look the same. They resemble large square boxes with little to no character at all. Once upon a time, movie theaters were marvels of gilded opulence, evoking romantic palaces and exotic temples. Unfortunately, over time, many of these landmarks were demolished. However, you can still enjoy a new or classic film on the big screen at one of these historic theaters. Check out this list of those still in operation, and too beautiful to miss:

  • Thalian Hall, Wilmington, NC
  • Saenger Theatre, New Orleans, LA
  • Fox Theatre, Tucson, Arizona 
  • Castro Theatre, San Francisco
  • Historic Park Theatre, Estes Park, Colorado
  • Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida
  • Zebulon Theater, Cairo, Georgia
  • Antioch Theatre, Antioch, Illinois
  • Artcraft Theatre, Franklin, Indiana
  • Kentucky Theater, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, Massachusetts
  • The Senator Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Loew’s Jersey, Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Village East Cinema, New York City
  • Strand Theatre, Delaware, Ohio
  • Hollywood Theatre, Portland, Oregon
  • 7th Street Theatre, Hoquiam, Washington

As you can see even though the number of theatre-goers has diminished, we have many, architecturally beautiful theaters in the United States. Few spaces combine visual splendor and colorful history like America’s great old theaters. Visit one today while you still can!


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