There is a big difference between watching a DVD/VHS/Digital Download/BluRay/Whatever the hell they come up with next and going to the cinema to watch the latest and greatest.
1. Dressing for the occasion. We live in a small town but even here, we need to put on pants to see a movie in the theater. If I wait or watch again in the comfort of my own home, the emphasis is definitely on COMFORT. I get to watch in my PJs which are the best part of my wardrobe. Home Viewing 1, Cinema 0
2. The seating. At a cinema, you may find yourself being admonished by attendants to keep your feet of the sticky seats, which is undeniably how they got that way in the first place. It’s kind of a toss up as to whether the arm rest will lift and let you snuggle up with the significant other you may have come with. At home, you are the master of your own domain. I have a Sheldon like complex that causes me to want my own spot for every television involved experience. Home Viewing 2, Cinema 0.
3. The screen size and sound set up. It is a very different thing to sit in your PJs on your couch, eating potato chips and crying through Beaches for the umpteenth time and watching Avengers in the cinema with a huge screen and surround sound that pulls you into all the action. I love superhero movies IN THE CINEMA. I rarely choose them at home. The experience just isn’t the same. I’d say this one totally depends on the movie. It’s a draw.
4. The food. I make my own snacks and they taste better and I know where they came from. It takes more work and more planning but it’s better than the expense and the disappointment of the theater snacks. My husband always spends $10 on water and candy. I always think, “Nachos. Yum.” I spend $6 on something I’m sure is a chemical compound unsuccessfully flavored like spicy cheese and stale chips from the 60’s. Inevitably, I am completely disgusted by them once they pass my lips. My kids love them. Unexplainable. Home Viewing 4, Cinema 1
5. Timing. Waiting to view something at home, which for me usually means waiting for Netflix to deliver it to my house or for it to hit some type of streaming program really puts me at a disadvantage at the water cooler. I’m subject to spoilers on blogs, people revealing plot holes and when everyone else is discussing the philosophical meaning of the carnivorous island in Life of Pi, I’m sitting at my desk with my fingers in my ears singing, “La la la la la..,” In that really annoying way. Home Viewing 4, Cinema 2
6. Child care. We are parents. We have to find a babysitter. This upped the expense of the cinema from $16 to $36. I generally pay about $20 for someone to come and sit in my house while my children are sleeping and call 911 if something awful happens. Wait until it’s on DVD and we put the kids to bed, wait until they are silent and hope that we can stay awake long enough to take in the rented movie. I’m still giving this to the Home Viewing. 5 to 2. Not looking good for the cinema.
7. Cost. Between the above mentioned childcare and snacks, we are at $36. At this cinema in our small little town it cost $9 to go to a movie. That has the cost at $56 for a night out with the hubby. Home Viewing 6, Cinema 2.
8. The walk out factor. If the movie sucks, after all that expense, you are NOT going to walk out of a movie at the cinema. You are going to SUFFER and LIKE IT! You are out! Enjoy the damn movie. If you watch it for free on Netflix streaming or even if you only rented it at the Redbox for $1 (didn’t the recently up that price a bit?), you are much more inclined to save on brain cells and turn off something that is bringing down your IQ by the frame. Home Viewing 7, Cinema 2.
9. Audience participation. When you head to the cinema, depending on the movie, you are likely to experience most if not all of the following: cell phone going off, baby crying, someone needing to leave for the restroom and walking past you in the smallest aisle ever, laughing teenagers throwing popcorn at the screen, teenagers making out behind you and kicking you in the head, and possibly, as we learned during The Hobbit, an arrest or two or maybe three. Home Viewing 8, Cinema 2.
10. The DATE factor. Leaving the house, going out to dinner and extending your time away from the house, the kids, life, makes the cinema going experience worth it for every parent who has ever had cabin fever or anyone who is on a first date and doesn’t know what else to do. Six points for the cinema just for making life bearable and being the first date go to activity. That brings it into balance. Home Viewing 8, Cinema 8.