Cinema Value: Home Or Away?

When it comes to cinema value, many are put off by the amount of money they spend when taking a trip to the cinema. With what seems extravagant costs next to food and drink  that you can buy elsewhere much cheaper, and ticket prices at approximately the same price as a DVD, why would anyone go to the cinema at all?

So let’s start with the facts. Going to the cinema has taken a massive turn in popularity, with more people than ever before watching films – even in the recession. That’s with prices increasing, remember.

But, it has been found recently that Londoners pay more than three times the national average to see a film in the country’s capital. An adult ticket for the Odeon in Leicester Square costs up to £17.50 compared with an average of £4.95 in ten continental capitals. Even London suburban cinemas frequently charge £8 to £10 for adults.

What are the benefits worth sacrificing your notes (rather than your coins) for? Well, not many of us have a gigantic screen in our house. If you did, you probably wouldn’t worry about the price of the cinema then anyway…

Secondly, the sound system built into a cinema theatre is built for the use of 100 plus people. So if you’re just one person, you will be able to appreciate the deepest bass and the surround sound.

But with money saving deals like Orange Wednesdays, where you get a free ticket for a friend, every Wednesday – just for being on their network, you have more money for food at the cinema, a meal afterwards or even just to spend next week.

Advancements in technology usually hit the big screen first. Fancy paying £1000 for one of the few 3D TV’s in the country? Neither do I. So upgrading your cinema ticket for a pound to see the whole thing in 3D is a worthy investment. This has come with experience;  Avatar is nowhere near as good on DVD/Blu-Ray as it was in the cinema.

Avatar is widely regarded as one of the best uses of cinema 3D to date.

Overall, it is a consensus that most people enjoy going to the cinema for the experience. The choice of seating; the fresh popcorn; the newest films; the social aspect; the romantic feel; the audience reaction; these are all valid reasons, and just some of many, why people prefer paying that little bit extra to traverse to a packed theatre and simply appreciate what is new in the entertainment and film industry.

However, having spoken to a cinema manager, who wished himself and his chain to be unnamed, he could not comment on the pricing that is often quick to receive criticism from the media and the general public. On the subject of food, ‘We must keep stock fresh to satisfy our customers, and as they turn up at many different times throughout the day, it often involves unnecessary heating and cleanliness resources being wasted,’ he revealed. ‘Therefore it costs slightly more than cost price popcorn, unfortunately at the consumer end of pricing. However we continue to subsidise costs in any way possible, and will continue to do so in the future.’ When asked what advantages a cinema has over watching it anywhere else, he was quick to reply; ‘We have the latest in imaging technology, with 3D projection now possible in every one of our theatres, and the newest advances in high quality digital audio sound. Besides all that, you come to the cinema for the social aspect, don’t you..! There’s definitely less reaction to a film sat at home, especially on your own’.

Is it really worth that much though? A decent meal in a middle-market restaurant or just watching a film? Two people at the cinema costs short of a twenty pound note, without including 3D upgrades at another £2 each, or popcorn and drinks.

Plus, a DVD release doesn’t come out as long after a film as people may think. At just over 16 weeks for the majority of films, four months is hardly an age to wait for. Also, with the prices falling each year, home releases are now level with, or even less than a full paying adult ticket. That’s a crisp ten pound note for something you can enjoy over and over again, whenever you like. Very dissimilar to the cinema, where the only thing you keep are the memories (or the 3D glasses, if you choose not to ‘recycle’ them).

Most people prefer their own seating, in the comfort, warmth and decoration of their own home. So why travel (at further expense) to somewhere that possibly isn’t the ideal temperature, probably isn’t as comfortable as you like, and has little or no decoration to take notice of – while the adverts play long after the film ‘started’.

There's big comfort in being able to choose what you watch, whenever you like.

I think that I can now conclude that the cinema is much better to visit for getting to see the newest blockbusters first. However, if you aren’t so keen on spending a lot of money, and don’t mind missing out on the technology now offered at nearly every cinema across the country, perhaps watching it in the comfort of your own home would be a safer bet. There is nothing wrong with either of the two choices, it completely depends on the social ambience you want to receive when watching that particular film.

You’ll find me in the cinema, with proper popcorn, even if it does cost an arm and a leg.

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