When organising a trip to the cinema, it’s more than likely you’ll be faced with a challenge regarding “place” and “time”. These two concepts are becoming increasingly recognised as complex social and cultural structures as well as geometric dimensions affecting our behavioral characteristics (Merriman, 2011). Upon going to the cinema with a friend, I realised that you don’t always get you want.
In the early 1970s urban planner Torsten Hagerstrand focused on the role where place and time were absolute, finite and constraining (Merriman, 2011). He identified 3 human constraints: capability, coupling and authority which changed the way social planning works. In discussion with my friend we both agreed on Hoyts which was both our closest cinema. In between our busy university and work schedule we were limited to the movie session options. As a result, we chose to catch up over dinner during the weeknight followed by a night movie session. To make sure we were not waiting for each other alone we decided to carpool.
At arrival, the cinema foyer was surrounded by large upcoming movie posters accompanied by loud music playing in the background. The upbeat atmosphere made me feel like I was going to watch a live comedy show then a sad romantic movie “If I stay”. I spotted the bright shining lights of the candy bar a mile away, even though I fought back the temptation. When we walked into the cinema we did not follow seating arrangements but instead chose to sit directly in the middle-centre part of the cinema. Only because our vision is not the best if we sat right at the back and we didn’t want a sore neck from sitting at the front. There were less than 20 people in the cinema which were scattered around us. I observed that majority of movie goers were halfway through their popcorn before the movie even started. That didn’t surprise me because I’m always one of those people. Once the lights dimmed the cinema went quiet and everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen waiting for the movie to begin.
Advanced technologies have revolutionised the way the audience can watch movies, introducing private viewing. No longer do we have to leave the comfort of our homes to go watch a movie at the cinema. We can simply download it online and watch what we want, when we want and how many times we want. Australia is among the worst in the world when it comes to illegally downloading movies. According to Nielsen Online Ratings Hybrid figures, in May 3 million Australians visited the two largest illegal content download websites: The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrent. Private viewing allows the individual ultimate control over their movie experience.
Why pay for a movie ticket when you can watch the same movie without the same price tag? When you go to cinema, you are faced with the difficult decision of when to go to the candy bar to get more drinks or go to the restrooms. Knowing my luck I always seem to miss the most exciting or dramatic part of the movie. No need to miss out, private viewing allows you to hit the pause, fast forward or stop button anytime during the movie.
Contrastingly, with the arrival of DVDs, Blu-Ray technology, home projector theatre systems and internet downloads, cinema attendance is on the rise. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, cinema has the highest attendance rate of all the events surveyed, with 67% people having been to a cinema in the last 12 months. Throughout Australia cinema attendance rates have increased from 65% in 2005-06 to 67% in 2009-10. Going to the movies is a popular activity for young people, however attendance rates declined with age.
Will cinema attendance rise or decline in the future? Of course the industry would have to create a new enticing cinema experience if they want people to still attend. Creativity has already begun in Australia with the Rooftop Cinema in Melbourne providing audiences a great movie and magnificent views of the city.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2014, cat. No. 4172.0, accessed 26 August 2014.
Lynn, A 2014, Minion Eating Popcorn, image, Pinterest, viewed 26 August 2014, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/67624431879228406/
Merriman, P 2011, ‘Human Geography without time-space’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 13-27.
Misener, J 2013, Rooftop cinema Melbourne, image, Buzzfeed, viewed 26 August 2014, http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/the-13-coolest-movie-theaters-in-the-world#2y8wflt
News Limited 2014, Illegal downloading: Should you think twice before using torrenting websites? News.com.au, News Limited, viewed 26 August 2014
De Braekeleir, Z 2013, When do you eat your popcorn, image, We Heart It, viewed 26 August 2014, http://weheartit.com/entry/84260856/search?context_type=search&context_user=ZoeDeBraekeleir&query=when+you+eat+your+popcorn