I often watch moves online with my sister, because it’s tradition – raw popcorn with dark chocolate and old movies with our favourite actor/actress of the night. While Netflix gives good options, it’s hard to find a broad selection of the type of movie you are looking for, such as my sister and I searching for marathons with the same actor in it. This is why we opt for other online streaming options where we can find the exact movie we want with a click of a button. It’s not a surprise to me when I read that that movie cinemas are at an all time low, because most of these online streaming sites also stream movies that are ‘supposed’ to be exclusive to cinemas for a few months, in the comfort of your own living room or bed.
Despite this though, I find myself forking out money every month to go see the newest movie in cinemas even though I can see it’s available to watch online too. This is because I like the experience, and who doesn’t? Hagerstrand introduced the concept of time geography in the late 1960’s, which was used to monitor and track individual movement in space and time. There were three constraints to human’s daily activities that were clear in Hagerstrand’s findings. Capability constraints. Such as asking yourself, “how can I get there?” Coupling constraints, “What time should I get there, can I get there on time?” and Authority constraints. “Am I allowed there, what am I allowed to do there?”
I experienced some of these constraints when I recently went to Melbourne. We stayed above the Casino village road show cinemas, so we had easy access to go to the movies each night – we ended up going to see two movies during our stay despite the fact that a single ticket was $19. The capability constraints here were almost non-existent, as we only had to catch the elevator from our room to the movie cinema level of the hotel. Financial constraints however, were prevalent as aforementioned; each ticket was rather expensive, especially in comparison to simply watching online or going to a local cinema back home for half the price. For the first movie we went to see, Nerve (2016) , a movie about high-schoolers who engage in a game-like app that encourages them to engage in risky ‘dares.’ We chose a 9:40 session for this movie as I have always kept the same idea in mind that movies are better the later you watch them, so we picked the latest session.
As my boyfriend and I were on holiday, we didn’t have any coupling constraints at all apart from deciding which session to pick, and this was easy as 9:40 was the latest, albeit busiest session. The second night we went to see the adult animation movie, Sausage Party (2016), and we also went to the 9:40 session. Though this time there were coupling constraints – because we couldn’t decide between this movie or the horror movie Lights Out (2016) which was showing 10 minutes earlier. We ended up on the later one simply because of that – we couldn’t decide. With authority constraints in movie cinemas, you generally think of the basic rules such as stay in your seats, don’t sneak food in (guilty), and keep quiet. However, at these cinemas they were a lot more lenient then other places I’ve been, they didn’t check my backpack for snacks and we were free to move around away from our designated seats (respectively, where the seats were available.)
The majority of Hagerstrand’s constraints are not prevalent when watching movies in the comfort of your own bed, and this is an easy answer to why movie cinema attendance is at an all time low. Even Netflix’s slogan, ‘anytime, anywhere’ is a slap in the face to traditional movie watching, which is quite literally not anytime, and not anywhere. So why aren’t movie cinemas a complete fail in today’s society? Probably for the same reason I still go to them. There is something exciting about booking midnight screenings to the movie you’ve been incessantly watching the trailer for months, or grabbing a huge box of buttery popcorn and a mint choc top and settling in those red seats to watch a movie with a bunch of strangers. These are experiences that while you can do them at home, (with a lot of coordination and time), going to the cinema is s a social activity that involves comfort and entertainment without having to talk to people. In my eyes at least, that’s a complete win, regardless of any constraints that may arise.
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