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I Like Streaming Services Offering New Box Office Releases to Watch at Home, Does That Make Me a Bad Person?

I miss movie theaters, but...

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Recently, I watched a video from Black Nerd Comedy about The Suicide Squad. In the video, he mentions that he’s watched the movie twice—once in theaters (before the movie was released, huzzah press screening), and again at home.

I bring up this particular video not because of the review, but because of what he says in regards to his film-watching experience. While he enjoyed The Suicide Squad, he says that he enjoyed it more the second time around for a reason that’s been extremely relatable to me.

Watching the movie at home meant that he had no anxiety about going to a movie theater right now.

“I of course love the movie going experience, love being able to sit in the theater when I feel comfortable to do so, but I will say I really liked this movie more watching it the second time at home. I think it’s because I have movie theater anxiety now. Is this happening to anybody else? There is something about me going to a theater now where it just feels like it’s more pressure than it used to be, because now I’m thinking about, ‘How’s the theater going to be? Is it going to be clean? How many people are going to be sitting next to me? Is everyone going to follow the rules?’ I think that anxiety carries over to me not being able to be fully immersed into the movie like I used to.”

That.

All of that.

Since the pandemic began, I have watched two movies in the theater: Free Guy and Shang-Chi. I saw Free Guy at a press screening that had about twelve people (myself, my wife, and the press rep included). The theater was so empty that we all practically got an entire row of seats to ourselves, which greatly diminished any anxiety I had about being in that space.

The same happened with Shang-Chi, which I saw with a small group of friends, but those friends had actually rented out the theater so we had the space to ourselves.

Both of my movie-going experiences had the least amount of people present, meaning that a lot of my worries were alleviated.

Outside of that? Every new release I’ve watched has been through streaming.

Bringing movies to streaming just makes sense to me right now, and, like, can I be real honest with you? I wouldn’t terribly mind having media that’s more accessible like this from here on out.

Does that … make me a bad person?

I know that sounds like a silly question, but the response some folks have had to digitally streaming new releases has been… not great.

Directors continue to do interviews where they tell us that the only real way to experience a movie is at the theater, going so far as to bash the decision to make streaming an option. We also keep getting reports about poor box office numbers for films.

I feel for the industry. No one expected something as devastating as COVID to happen.

But here’s the thing.

We’re still dealing with COVID, so all of these interviews and reports about the struggling movie industry just leaves me with a feeling of, “Yeah. No shit. We’re all trying to make sense of things right now, and it’s kinda weird that you’re trying to make me feel bad about it.”

What really bothers me is that had something as catastrophic as COVID hit 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, the movie industry probably would be dead on arrival. As it stands, though, there is a way to make sure people can still watch movies. Is it the same as going out to a theater on opening night with popcorn and a large drink (maybe even alcohol if you have one of the fancier theaters)?

No, of course not, but it is something.

Streaming movies should be seen as a solution to an ongoing problem that we’re still facing, especially with movies like The Suicide Squad, which was released as people were reporting about the Delta variant.

More viewers are turning to streaming. Deadline reported back with The Suicide Squad that nearly 3 million people tuned in during its opening weekend (2.8 million U.S. viewers, according to an analytics company called Samba TV). This made The Suicide Squad the second-highest streamed movie during an opening weekend for HBO Max (the first is Mortal Kombat which hit 3.8 million U.S. viewers).

That should count for something.

I understand directors being upset that their creation can’t be viewed the way they intended, but the constant gaslighting about having to see it in the theater is not the hot take they seem to think it is. I don’t get being THIS mad about folks turning to a safer, more accessible option in regards to watching someone’s work. There are plenty of folks whose way of living did legitimately come to an end because of COVID who I’m sure would’ve LOVED to have an alternative that could’ve bore some kind of fruit.

Every time a director gives a dialogue about their work being a failure because “people aren’t going to the movies these days” I get more frustrated. It should be obvious why people aren’t going to the movies “these days.” Films are being released alongside reports of increased COVID numbers and new variants. Not every state has mandatory mandates in place. Let’s be real, not everywhere is enforcing the mandates that are in place, and honestly, employees aren’t getting paid enough to deal with how out of pocket some folks get about being asked to stick to guidelines.

Being able to watch a movie without worrying about whether or not someone is vaccinated makes for a better viewing experience. Honestly, being able to watch a movie on my own time has made it possible for me to watch movies more than I ever have before.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

We can still watch movies thanks to streaming, and no one should feel bad about that—in case you were wondering where I was leaning in regards to that question I asked in my headline.

(Image: Kohei Horikoshi, Yoko Akiyama/SHUEISHA Inc. and HBO Max)

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Author
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)