NYC theaters are rethinking their strategy due to the impact of streaming – NBC New York

What there is to know

  • With the rise of streaming services, the movie industry is known to be in trouble.
  • While some may see the threat of streaming services collapsing movie theaters as real, it’s much more of a threat to the independent mom and pop businesses that, before streaming, initially had to compete with the big cinema chains.
  • These local cinemas have started to think outside the box when it comes to enticing audiences to attract more customers to their doors.

When was the last time you went to your local cinema to watch a movie?

Going in and smelling the popcorn, seeing previews before the movie, laughing or shouting collectively in front of a stage with other moviegoers – it’s all part of the experience of going to the cinema.

Movies have been a popular form of entertainment for decades, so it’s hard to imagine this industry ever disappearing. However, with the rise of streaming services, the movie industry is known to be in trouble.

“I would say there has been a general drop in foot traffic since streaming became available,” said Movieland Cinemas general manager Nicole Rapp.

With the recent pandemic, the world has been forced to make changes – perhaps sooner than expected. The use of technology in the home has grown exponentially as it has become the main source of schooling, entertainment, communication and escape for many, especially during the height of the pandemic when the economy was blocked. Movies have even started showing on streaming services due to the closure of cinemas.

While some may see the threat of streaming services collapsing movie theaters as real, it’s much more of a threat to the independent mom and pop businesses that, before streaming, initially had to compete with the big cinema chains.

“Streaming existed before the pandemic, but exploded when COVID hit. I don’t blame anyone for showing movies while we were closed, but now so many movies are going straight to streaming and skipping a theatrical release,” said the management of Bellmore Movies and Showplace, located in Nassau County, Washington. a statement to News 4 New York.

Along with the pandemic-accelerated economic fallout, continued inflation has also impacted these businesses according to Bellmore Movies management.

“There’s so much going on before they walk through the door that they don’t see,” says Bellmore Movies, which opened in 1915, survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, as well as the COVID pandemic. “There are constant equipment upgrades as well as equipment repairs. The challenges of heating these large buildings while oil and gas prices are at their highest. New laws that affect day-to-day operations. Staff shortages and supply chain issues. We had to roll up our sleeves and start looking for items normally easily supplied by our dealers and cleaning suppliers. I’m sure other theater operators are doing the same .

These businesses have started to think outside the box when it comes to enticing the public to bring more customers through their doors. With this in mind, managers and owners of independent movie theaters have gotten creative. Movieland Cinema, for example, recently joined food delivery app Doordash to offer people popcorn and other cinema treats, they also rent out movie theaters and have even partnered with a production company. to provide live events tied to iconic movies, like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“We have so many people who just come for popcorn and go home,” Rapp said. “It’s a way we deal with streaming, because if they’re coming for the popcorn, we can at least make it accessible…and still have that home theater experience.”

Social media is another way for local mom and pop theaters to engage with audiences. Rapp also said Movieland Cinema, located in Suffolk County, hosts sensory-friendly screenings on the second Saturday of each month.

“That’s when we dim the lights, reduce the volume, and the staff are very caring…to adapt so the environment isn’t overwhelming for our most sensitive viewers,” he said. she declared.

Rapp went on to say that one way to help theaters is for distribution companies to allow films to be shown for a longer period exclusively in theaters before heading to streaming services so that ” people can have that [movie theater] live.”

“If people go straight to streaming, no one comes [to see that movie] in theaters,” Rapp said. “We have a movie right now that’s streaming online and the in-person attendance is so low it’s almost not worth it.”

However, Bellmore Movies also went on to say that a recent blockbuster showed there’s still a need and a need for the movie theater experience.

“I have to hand it to Tom Cruise. He insisted his movie Top Gun: Maverick wait until theaters reopened. When we were all allowed to reopen, he gave it some time and boom, he released TGM Memorial Day weekend with strong attendance.” He made studios realize the power of a theatrical run. We hope this thought process holds true in the future,” Bellmore Movies’ statement continued to News 4 New York.

Although independent cinemas are struggling, a number of people prefer to go to the cinema, if not for something else, out of nostalgia.

“People come for the nostalgia,” Rapp said. “To sit in the theater and laugh with other people during the fun parts of the movie or jump on the scary part…so all of those little things are things that we’re proud of and we really strive to share that experience with other people. .”

Bellmore Movies management shared similar sentiments.

“There’s nothing quite like sitting in a dark cinema with a room full (or half full at least) of strangers,” Bellmore Movies management said. “You have this commonality of all wanting to see the same movie. You laugh together, cry together, scream together and finally finish the movie experience together. Then, when you go out, you all talk about it with your companions and continue the experience to the door.”


Here’s what News 4 New York audiences have to say about independent movie theaters when we asked them about it on Instagram:

  1. How do you prefer to watch recently released movies?

25% prefer to go to the cinema

26% prefer to wait for the film to be available for streaming

50% depends on the movie

  1. What do you like about going to the cinema?

9% fun activity to go out with friends/family etc.

29% better to watch on the big screen

4% enjoy experiences with others around them

49% all of the above

  1. What don’t you like about going to the movies?

21% waste of money

20% don’t have time

29% prefer to be in the comfort of their own home

30% all of the above

  1. What do you think of struggling movie theaters?

42% are not bothered by it

58% are upset by this

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