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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Libraries Offer Moviegoers a Free Alternative

A recent article in the Toledo Blade discusses the toll the Cineplex experience is taking on moviegoers, citing high ticket and concession prices. “It's no secret that movie studios gobble up 60 percent or more of box-office ticket sales for their films,” the article states. “With ticket sales such an unreliable form of revenue, movie theatres over the years came to rely even more on concessions to make up the difference.”

The article goes on to highlight the cost of concessions within a theatre compared to that of a grocery store: “For example, a large 32-ounce drink at Rave costs $5. Compare that to the 66 cents it costs for two 12-ounce cans of soda—as part of a 12 pack for $4—to fill that same 32-ounce cup along with a generous scoop of ice to cover the difference.”

Because of the higher cost of tickets and snacks, the article reports that many moviegoers find they can’t afford the Cineplex experience all too often: “the Otts, who are from Sylvania [Ohio], say they can't afford to go to movies more than once a month. ‘I don't think anybody could afford to do that,’ Ed [Ott] said.”

So what should moviegoers do when they can’t afford a night out at the Cineplex? Turn to their local library! Patrons can check out new DVD releases or sequels and prequels for flicks coming soon to theatres; then make a quick stop at the grocery store to stock up on snacks.

And while today’s theatres offer quite the experience—the newest movies, digital sound, digital projection, stadium seating, and 3D films—they also are hindered by shorter windows for film showings as well as crowds, high prices, and disturbances like chatting and cell phones. On some nights and for some movies, it’s worth it. But other times, a peaceful night at home watching a free DVD from the local library, eating some snacks from the grocery, and ultimately saving money seems like an OK trade-off to me.

But what about you? What do you think? Is the movie-going experience irreplaceable? Or is a night with a DVD or Blu-ray movie a solid alternative? Share your thoughts below as comments.

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