6D Nicky Fan
Cinemas in Hong Kong
There is an increasing trend in Hong Kong that people tend not to go to cinemas for movies, though their fancy and love for movies does not change. Detailed researches have been done to investigate the phenomenon. Findings and suggestions are as follows:
The reason why people nowadays seldom visit cinemas is to cut cost and secure comfortability.
First and foremost, people can enjoy movies online without digging their pockets to cut cost. On the Internet, it is very easy and convenient to find websites and apps like x8movies, Movie 25 and so on which provide a wide range of free movies to viewers. Even the latest movies are uploaded to those websites. Some of the website organizers even launch monthly, yearly subscription plans, pledging to provide free films with subtitles of various language. People only need to pay a low price for loads of movies while a movie ticket at cinema costs triple, quadruple of it. Besides, the resolution and sounds of movies online are on a par with those in cinemas. Therefore, movie-goers, especially wage-earners and teenagers who only receive pocket money from parents prefer watching them online for the financial concern.
On top of financial concern, poor comfortability of cinemas is another important reason. When adults are watching a cartoon or animation films, children in the same house scream, laugh and talk uncontrollably. It brings nuisance to the movie-goers, distracting them to focus on appreciating and immersing in movies. Moreover, only food like popcorns, hotdogs and chips bought in the snack shop of the cinema is allowed to be brought in to the house. However, snacks sold in cinemas are expensive. For example, a medium-sized popcorn costs $50. They are restricted to savour their own food while whatching the movie. In addition, the seats are cramped and uncomfortable. Taller or fatter viewers have to squeeze their body to fit the seats. To conclude, in order to secure higher level of comfortability, people avoid visiting cinemas to go for alternatives.
The dwindling number of movie-goers is a wake-up call for the industry to step up and turn the tide. Two suggestions are proposed, tackling the reasons for not visiting cinemas. First, the authority has to crack down on the websites providing free movies. These websites indeed infringe the intellectual property right of the producers. Hard work of the production team should be rewarded with box office earnings. However, those websites owners illegally obtain the movie and make it public. Some of them even capitalize on movies stolen form elsewhere. Those websites should be closed so that people can no longer rely on those websites for movie experiences. Proactive actions taken by the authority also convey a message to the public that illicit movies shown online are strictly prohibited while watching the latest films in cinema is the only legal way. At the same time, no latest films are shown and broadcasted only. By such, the number of people going to cinemas for movies will gradually increase.
Apart form the duty of the authority, cinemas’ owners also play an important role to optimize the facilities of cinemas. Features of cinemas that cannot be replaced should be further upgraded, improved and promoted, giving audience riveting and exhilarating movie-watching experiences. Take IMAX cinemas as a case in point, they are equipped with top-notch sound system, massive screen and comfy seats. New features like smell-o-vision, kinetic seats should be added for 4D movie-watching experiences. What’s more, the companies should make reference to world-famous theatres, like Olympia theatre in Greece, where seats are replaced by big double beds; movie theatre in Paris, where seats are changed to many small boats when movie “Life of Pi” is played. Cinemas should make full use of their potentials to attract more audience through providing unprecedented experiences, making them bask in the movie.
People do not visit cinemas so often as before due to high cost but low comfortability. The authority and companies should contribute to turn the tide, bringing people back to cinemas.