business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"More than three years after the pandemic slammed movie theaters, reducing the flow of new films and keeping patrons away, operators hope a slew of wide releases this summer will finally get those who have grown accustomed to streaming movies at home back into theaters.

"If they do return — for 'The Little Mermaid,' 'Barbie' or the latest from the Spider-Man and Indiana Jones franchises — moviegoers may find that the spaces look and feel different.

"Cinemas were already upgrading before the pandemic — bringing in cushier seating, bigger screens, better sound equipment, and tastier food and beverage options.

"But many theaters also went into 2020 with thin margins and may have survived only because of federal pandemic relief programs. Now cinemas are spending millions of dollars to beef up their offerings and surpass moviegoing of old … Theaters are installing heated lounge chairs that fully recline or have built-in trays and buttons to summon waiters. Some seats move in sync with the movie’s action or provide special effects such as a blast of air during a windy scene, tricks that were once typical only at amusement parks. Some auditoriums now have screens on the sides as well as at the front. Menu options have grown ever more sophisticated. Sushi, anyone? You can wash it down with an I.P.A.

"Theaters are offering other thrills. One outside Fort Worth built a gangplank 22 feet above an arcade floor — walk it if you dare. Another in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., has a kitchen and lobby bar with TV screens so a customer can, say, catch the end of a ballgame before the feature starts."

I'm old fashioned.  I go to a movie, and I want to see a movie.  Maybe sip a nice beer or glass of wine, but beyond that I don't need much.  (Also, at my age I only get something to drink if the movie is less than two hours long.  I suspect I'm not alone in this.) But if all the other stuff is necessary to keep theaters in business, that's fine - most of these theaters only are showing comic book movies anyway, so style over substance would seem to be the way forward.