Covid hit movie theaters hard. Really, really hard! AMC Theatres is trying to rekindle interest in theater-going by airing a commercial starring actress Nicole Kidman. She walks into an empty theatre and talks about the “indescribable feeling we get when the lights begin to dim and we go somewhere we’ve never been before.”
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, streaming services, thankfully, became the way we got our movie fix. When Covid waned, we thought everyone would be ready to get off the couch, dump the sweats, and head to the theater. Nope, over 60 percent of Americans are sticking with streaming. Some do go to see a blockbuster; but, once it can be bought or rented on TV, theater ticket sales plummet.
Is this a temporary aberration or a lifestyle change? Are we going to face the demise of movie theaters during our lifetimes? What would happen to date night: dinner and a movie????
The recent nominees for the Academy Awards include Elvis for best picture and more. We didn’t miss that one. Elvis dominated our youth….You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog! Remember when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and was only filmed from the waist up because his gyrating hips were considered too wild, too obscene, and too much for the audience??
And, we did see Top Gun: Maverick. Can you believe that the original Top Gun was released over 35 years ago? Wow. Hollywood, apparently, is counting on a vault of spin-offs and sequels of successful movies to entice people back to the theater!
We stood in long lines to buy tickets for the first Star Trek movie in 1979. No need to do that anymore with online ticket buying. Yes! Decades later, there have been twelve Star Trek sequels. Glad the younger generation enjoyed some of these adventures. But, without William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock, we’ll take a pass.
Reading about the Hollywood celebrities who died last year reminded us of movies we loved. James Caan: The Godfatherand Funny Lady. Loretta Lynn. Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for portraying her in 1980’s Coal Miner’s Daughter. Sidney Poitier: Lilies of the Field, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Angela Lansbury: Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate. Ray Liotta, who could make even the bad guys sorta likable: Something Wild,Goodfellas, Heartbreakers. And, just weeks ago, Gina Lollobrigida died at 95. She was quite the early sex symbol and starred in over 50 movies.
But, some of the old award winning movies we watched during Covid lockup were both shocking and embarrassing. They were rampant with sexism and racism. Ouch!
Can movie theaters and streaming services co-exist? The popular movie Glass Onion with Daniel Craig was in movie theaters for just a week before heading to Netflix, which promoted the theater showing so it would be more widely streamed. Come on. A week?
We giggled when reading an article about A Man Called Otto, which stars Tom Hanks as a cranky widower. It’s described as a “conventional drama aimed at older ticket buyers in the middle of the country.” That made us think. We can’t count on the ratings published by Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB because of the younger demographics of those who submit the rankings. So, how about adding ratings to the PG, PG-13, and R grouping? One for us “older ticket buyers” and one for movies we would enjoy with the grandkids…maybe PG-O and PG-O+???
And, did you know you can host a private theater rental and invite friends and family to watch one of the movies currently showing on the big screen? Oh, be sure to include snacks from the “party pack” menu. This little-known personal rental option increased in popularity during Covid’s height, but is still a fun idea.
So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today? If you don’t want to see theaters go the way of the phone booth, head to the movies and rave about the film to your friends. Take the grandkids to the theater so they delight in the experience of the big screen. Crossword puzzles constantly remind us that we are clueless about the titles of lots of current movies and their stars. We need to get with it! And, get off the couch, put your feet up in those fancy new chairs, have a drink, and eat popcorn! Wait! Maybe, think “bladder” and forget that drink if the movie is over three hours…like Avatar: The Way of Water!