Going to the movies was such a big part of my life prior to the pandemic. At least once a week, after commuting back to the city from work, I would go get dinner and then go see a movie by myself. I worked at a movie theater in high school, a Cinemark with twenty screens, and I really made the free tickets perk that I had while working there worthwhile. I think at first it was something for me to do while living in a place where it didn’t feel like there was much to do, but then it became more than that. I would go to multiple screenings in one day, saw many movies more than once just because, and now have a collection of ticket stubs that of course I refuse to get rid of.
This didn't stop when I stopped working there. I moved to Philadelphia for school and discovered some smaller, cozier theaters. Of course, I always hold the Cinemark I worked at near and dear to my heart, but these smaller theaters tended to play movies that perhaps I wouldn't always get to see at the cinemark at home, like indie movies and midnight screenings of cult classics. In January, my favorite theater in the city, the Ritz at the Bourse, closed. This was pre-pandemic, and my heart still feels broken over it. Since then, though, things have escalated in a way I could’ve never imagined. Movie theaters potentially becoming obsolete has been in the back of my mind since the pandemic started. This worry is hitting me harder after hearing the news that HBO Max will be premiering all Warner Brothers releases in 2021 on the same day as they will be released in theaters.
If you know me, you’ve probably heard me talk a billion times about why a lot of these movies are special to me. I can honestly say that the theater experience is just as important to me, though. Of course I genuinely love these movies, but even more so, I love the memories I have of going to see these movies in theaters. Whether I saw them with friends or by myself, I look back fondly on these times and long for them once again. I daydream about a lot of the things I'll do post-pandemic, but going to a movie theater to turn my brain off for two hours might be what I daydream about the most.