Remember going to the movies? 15 things we miss most about theaters
The simple act of going to the movies feels like a distant memory now, five months since many theaters have closed their doors.
Can you even recall what being in a theater was like?
With thousands of titles available from the couch and new releases going straight to streaming platforms amid the coronavirus pandemic, watching movies from home is a popular quarantine pastime. And it’s a good one. But it doesn’t compare to actually going to the movie theater.
Of course, the screen is bigger and better at a theater than it is at home, but USA TODAY’s movie team longs for the little things associated with a trip to the cinema.
Here’s what we miss most about going to the movie theater:
There’s an art to date night
Listen, it’s nice to be able to pause and run to the bathroom, refill snacks or make your own Negroni. But watching movies at home ruins the magic of a shared experience, especially when your plus one checks their phone or keeps glancing at incoming texts on their Apple Watch. PAY ATTENTION! I want to holler, but I cannot, because it’s COVID date night and it was him who made the Negronis, anyway. – Andrea Mandell
The magical soda machine
Fountain soda just tastes better. With some of the newer drink machines, you can make infinite mixes out of flavors you didn’t even know existed (Peach Fanta?! Orange Diet Coke?!). Each film got a special drink. – Carly Mallenbaum
Absurdly large containers of popcorn
I miss having a disagreement at concessions over the popcorn, and the fact that – I believe – an extra-large bucket of the stuff will always be a ridiculous amount of food and free refills make the purchase even more absurd. But arguing that point with my hungry loved ones, amid the alluring smells of freshly popped goodness in concessions, has become a comforting ritual. – C.M.
Debating the coming attractions
There’s something about watching coming attractions that makes me feel as though I’m an ancient Roman determining whether what I’ve just seen deserves a thumbs-up. My one-word reviews, uttered quietly, are inconsequential but somehow feel all-powerful in the moment. – C.M.
The drama of opening credits
The lights go down. The people beside you shush. The person three seats down turns off his phone. A latecomer scurries to her seat whispering, “Sorry!” It’s happening. There’s an immediacy to the start of a film inside a darkened theater that pressing play at home just can’t match. – A.M.
The anonymous sniffles
Is there anything more intimate in a public space than hearing strangers suck in their weepy snot? It fosters a sense of community. – C.M.
Hearing everything in surround sound
I couldn’t hightail it to a theater fast enough to experience “Wonder Woman” in Dolby Digital, with bullets whizzing by unnervingly as Gal Gadot fought her way solo through no man’s land. And I’d rank the joy of being engulfed in The Beatles’ “Na-na na nas” while “Hey Jude” plays at the end of “Yesterday” right up there with any Marvel post-credits scene. – Kim Willis