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At The Movies Theme Party


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Is going out to the movies really worth it? There are definite advantages to seeing recent releases on the big screen; however, the costs and hassles of going to local Cineplex are making the home theater industry boom.

During the 1950s and 1960s, going to the movies was an all day event. For one low price, you could see two full-length features, a few cartoons and the weekly serial adventure. The matinee show, as it was called, was geared toward children and teenagers and gave them something to do on Saturday. Toward the end of 1960s, this format began to change. The matinee was replaced with the one show feature and it remains the same to this day. There are still matinee shows, for a slightly reduced price than evening shows, but only one film is shown at a time.

What has changed in the last 20 years is the price of that one film. Up until five years ago, one could expect to pay $6 to $7 depending on the venue. Current movie tickets, however, range from $9 to $10 for evening shows. It is almost impossible to find anything below $7, even for the lower priced matinee shows.

The prices for food and beverages have gone up as well. For a large bucket of popcorn and a large drink, one can expect to pay upwards of $10. You can add at least $3 for any candy items purchased.

For the family of four, this can lead to a night of entertainment costing at least $40, with another possible $40 spent at the snack bar. Are these prices worth it?

Not when you consider that the movie going experience is not what it used to be. Newer technologies like cell phones and pagers have allowed more frequent interruptions in the theater. You also have to deal with potentially noisy children whose parents don’t realize that PG-13 does not mean, "bring your five year old." Frankly, one loud and clueless person in a theater (young or old) can bring down the entire movie watching experience. No wonder more and more people are looking into making their entertainment systems into home theater systems.

The advantages of having a home theater are clear right off the bat. There is nowhere to drive and no risk of having to deal with inadequate parking. Let’s face it, a lot of Cineplex’s have parking structures that can be a bit dangerous, not to mention confusing. With a home theater system, your movie watching experience is only down the hall instead of across town.

Your home theater system can provide you with the freedom of choosing the films you want at the times you want. You can host themed movie nights, or have a double feature of a "guy film" and a "chick flick" to satisfy the film needs of yourself and your spouse. An added bonus for parents is that they don’t have to worry about their children making noise during the film. It can make the experience less stressful for parents.

Owning a home theater system can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. For some, a home theater may consist of their regular television with a few special upgrades like new speakers or a high quality DVD player. A mid-priced home theater system could be a new plasma screen wall-mounted television, with a digital quality sound system. On the high end, a home theater can be an entire room with leather reclining theater seats, a DVD projector and wall-sized screen. If you have the money and inclination, your home theater can be as close to the Cineplex experience as you desire it to be. Personal use concession machines are available for purchase to provide home moviegoers with theater style popcorn, candy, sodas etc. Lighted movie posters on the walls and a mannequin ticket taker are unique touches that some people have added to their home theaters to make the experience like "the real thing."

With all these positives, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to continue to go out to the movies. Technology and creative retailers have provided the home theater enthusiast with all of the necessities to make staying in for movies the more attractive option

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