The Ultimate Debate: Streaming Services vs. Movie Theaters

Streaming Service Superiority   By: Sophie Walz

You’re sitting there, on your cozy couch, wrapped in your favorite blanket. You effortlessly reach over and grab the remote, starting to scroll through Netflix. So many options. Whatever you feel like watching is right at your fingertips, Romcom? Yes. Horror? Absolutely. Fantasy? Everyday. Once you pick the perfect movie or show, you start to feel hungry. But no need to worry, any snack you crave is right in your pantry, a few steps away, no need to spend $9 on an AMC large popcorn. You can easily replicate the “theater experience” by dimming the lights and blasting the speakers.

Streaming platforms are the newest frontier of experiencing cinema. You can stay safer at home, while still getting the movie theater experience by simply making a batch of popcorn and grabbing a coke, no need to wait in line for movie tickets and watch the never-ending previews.

Personally, I like to watch movies and TV shows in the comfort of my own home, on my own time. I can decide to binge TV shows or movie series the whole night, like all of Marvel or all of The Office. I do not have to adhere to the movie theater schedule, I can stay home and relax, and apparently, I’m not alone. With the pandemic this year, streaming services have seen a 37% increase in viewers, with the greatest increase due to Disney Plus (Bacon). It is obvious people are choosing streaming services over movie theaters. There are so many streaming services to choose from with varying prices, including, but not restricted to, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO, and YouTube TV. At home, there is a 0% chance of contracting COVID-19, while attending movie theaters is listed as a high risk activity for contracting corona by the CDC. The increased risk of COVID-19 combined with unnecessary expenses of time and money on overpriced beverages and snacks leads to the clear victor: streaming services.


Movie Theatre Mystique   By: Ellie Fox

You walk in. You’re immediately overwhelmed with the smell and sounds of buttery popcorn. The attendant asks for your ticket. You proudly hand it over. As they rip it and hand you your stub, your heart fills with joy. It’s really happening. You walk toward your designated theatre, up the stairs, and across the slightly sticky isle. The previews are just starting. The knowledge that you are seeing this film in the only environment it is available fills you with pride. The excitement of your fellow movie go-ers pulses around you. You relax into your seat and prepare yourself for a few hours of uninterrupted bliss.

This is the experience we have all been craving, missing, and yearning for since movie theaters closed down at the beginning of the pandemic. At the end of 2020 most every movie theatre in the US was shut down due to COVID concerns. Regal Movie Chain closed all 536 of its US theaters in October of 2020. However, experts at UC Davis are now saying that movie theaters may not pose as large of a COVID risk as initially thought. Typically, people are not talking while in theaters, and with the added precaution of distancing between parties within the theatre and eliminated concession stands, the COVID risk is significantly reduced, therefor allowing movie theaters to finally reopen.

For many, movie theaters reopening is the sign they have been waiting for. The sign that life is finally gaining the recreational normalcy we have all been seeking. Movie theaters may not be essential for our physical health or wellbeing, but as a society, movie theaters are everything we pride ourselves on. Yes, streaming services are great for watching re-runs and comfortable classics, but no at home streaming service will ever compare to the experience that is going to a movie theatre.