22 July 2010

In Which Our Hero Ponders The Economic Principles Of Gastronomic Pleasure On Offer At The Picture House

So I went to see Toy Story 3 tonight, and it was absolutely incredible by the way, but I noticed something strange in the cinema that I have never really taken account of before: the astronomical price of everything in a cinema. Now I know that to most of you this will not come as a shock, but for me, as I thought about while the ads were playing, the exorbitant prices for cinemas and the trappings that come as part of the package, cannot really be justified.
     I will say this much, I am more than willing to pay €10 to see a film in a cinema. Were they to bring down that price, I would not complain, but as it stands a tenner to see a film as soon as possible, in a comfortable setting with near perfect audio and extremely high picture quality without having to worry about a laptop battery dying, the chance that a DVD might skip or that your film will in someway be interrupted is definitely a luxury. There's also the feeling of sharing something that you can't get with a home viewing, which is much harder to descibe here, especially for me as I find one of the cardinal sins of the universe is to speak, make noise during or otherwise disturb a filmwatcher. But it is definitely easier to find yourself lost in a film when there are more people around you to share what you are experiencing. Films in cinemas are at a pretty good rate, and I hope that's something we can agree on, people who say that an evening of entertainment for ten euro is a rip off should try and see how far that money would take them in any other form of entertainment available to the public.
     No, the problem I have here is with the foodstuffs on offer in a cinema. Popcorn and cinema go hand-in-hand and always will, barring some freakish act of nature that either renders films useless or eradicates corn from the face of the earth. In light of that, I don't understand why cinemas insist on charging such ridiculous prices for it. It's hardly golddust, and judging by the amount of people sneaking popcorn in, they would probably make a lot more money by just reducing prices to more pocket-friendly prices. Same goes for drinks and other refreshments too, when you consider the fact that the trend is for cinemas to be parked in areas like shopping centres where cheap food is usually available in the grocery shop on the way into the building housing the cinema; the savvy shopper just won't be able to justify spending that money when in two minutes they could save themselves half the cost of a ticket, and that's not even an exaggeration.
     I love cinemas, really I do, and the one problem I have is that it is seldom I get to use them. I hope someone with the power to do something will eventually right this all-too-popular trend before the cinema as we know it falls by the wayside and is replaced completely by homesales. While they are trying to stem this shift in markets by offering 3D, I think the smarter option, especially with the advent of 3D TVs, which will eventually become cheaper, combined with TVs that will only get larger, and surround sound which will only increase in effectiveness and decrease in price become the norm in homes and all that will separate a cinema from a home cinema is the lack of a sense of community and the feeling of not being held by the ankles and shaken free of any spare change before settling in to watch a movie.