By Connor Lannen
Coming from a small town in Northern Michigan, going to the movie theater was a common event. Friday night at the movie theater was always nearly sold out and you would have to get your tickets to premieres well before the day of.
The movie theater industry has been decimated since the start of the pandemic. This stems from a few reasons. Obviously, the actual closure has affected the industry, however, I think that the innovations in online movie streaming have made just as big of an impact.
Box office ticket sales started off in 2020 with an increase in sales from 2019 for both of the months of January and February. However once the pandemic rolled in, box office revenue fell 80% to a market cap of just $2.28 billion for the year.
The cinemas were forced to close, like the rest of the country for the initial quarantine in the first couple of months during the pandemic. After being able to open back up the movie theater industry just did not rebound nearly as quickly.
I was an avid theatergoer, pre-pandemic, but even once the cinemas reopened, I didn’t think twice about going and watching an old movie being re-released in theaters. COVID-19 forced a delay in the production of movies and many of the large movies postponed their debuts a significant amount of time.
The first movie that even caught my eye to go to the theaters and watch was the recent debut of “Godzilla vs. Kong.” I thought about trying to get a group together to go but then saw that HBO Max had the movie premiering at the same time, for free with an HBO Max subscription.
Finally, I was sitting at home on a Monday night, looking for something to occupy my time, when I saw the trailer for “Nobody” starring Bob Odenkirk. I texted a couple of friends and we decided to make our return to the theaters for the first time in well over a year.
Walking into the cinema felt the same, the popcorn was still great and the concessions were still overpriced. Once into the theater, we had the pleasant surprise of new luxury seating and a theater to the three of us. Granted. It was a Monday night at a small theater in Northern Michigan.
I did ask the employees if there had been an uptick in sales recently, and they responded by saying they would be lucky to get the theater to 25% capacity on a Friday or Saturday night.
As for the movie itself, “Nobody” was fantastic. It was a John Wick esque thriller with great action and grotesque fight scenes. Bob Odenkirk, popular for his role as Saul Goodman in hit TV shows, “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” proved that he can carry a Hollywood hit as the star.
Odenkirk took the role of Hutch Mansell, a seemingly average suburban dad who refuses to stand up for himself and gets treated without much respect from his family. Two thieves break into Mansell’s home and Hutch doesn’t defend himself or his family, pulling his wife and son even further away.
Hutch has finally had enough and lets all of his pent up rage out, sending him on a dangerous quest of violence which reveals secrets about Hutch’s past that he had attempted to keep from even his family.
If you like the John Wick movies, you will enjoy “Nobody”. Odenkirk brings his sense of witty humor into the film that lightens up the movie and the action is top notch. The end scene left the character of Hutch Mansell wide open for a sequel.
I’m not saying that it should win best picture at The Oscars but it was very nice to sit back for a couple of hours and watch an enjoyable movie on the big screen again. There will be more opportunities for the cinemas to increase their ticket sales with many of the aforementioned delayed movies making their premieres soon.
As more and more people get vaccinated and the world begins to get back to normal, I think the movie theater industry will get back to an operable level. However, people are extremely habitual, and currently the habit is to open up any of the various streaming platforms to watch a movie.
Even “Nobody” was available to watch at home for $19.99 and that trend for new movies seems to be one that is sticking around. The innovations in streaming will more than likely cause people who aren’t big fans of the theater in the first place, to opt for a night in with the newest film rather than a night out at the movie theater.
Personally, I think there is a difference with watching films in theaters and I have always enjoyed the event of going to the movie theater. It will be interesting to see what staying power the movie theater industry has and see if it ever gets back to how it was pre-pandemic.