A Millennial At The Movies

I love going to the cinema. One of life’s purest pleasures is paying too much money for a film ticket, buying expensive snacks, sitting in the dark and letting yourself become immersed in a film. Admittedly, I don’t go very often. The nearest cinema is a 40 minute walk away, and sadly it’s very easy to get distracted by things like a university degree. Despite this, as a lover of pop culture and all things related, I try to watch as many movies as possible at home. Thanks to streaming options, there’s practically a limitless amount of movies to get stuck into whenever you want.

Most of the time I just end up rewatching Parks and Recreation.

But you’ll just have to trust me on this one, I do love going to the movies. When Orange Wednesday packed in, people were complaining about how no one would now go to the cinema anymore and yet I defended it! I’d still go to the cinema, some films are just better watched on the big screen, and really it’s the experience you’re paying for rather than the actual film. So this week, when AMC announced and immediately scrapped plans to make text friendly cinema screens, on behalf of millennials I was a little insulted.


Are we really viewed as the generation who can’t even go 2-3 hours without checking their phones? Is this what the establishment really think of us? How depressing is that! Yes, smartphones are great, and sadly I am a little addicted to mine. There’s just something really comforting about having your email, address book, bank and a map all in your pocket, but not being able to check my phone isn’t going to deter me from going to the movies!

“Oh hey, do you want to go and see Batman vs Superman?”

“Ah, I’d love to but I can’t! I won’t be able to check my phone!”

That is an example of a conversation that never happened and will never happen. Observe the much more likely scenario:

“Oh hey, do you want to go and see Batman vs Superman?”

“No thanks, it looks shit.”

Please stop simplifying this entire generations taste into “they like phones,” and come up with better ways to get people to go to the cinema. Honestly if you can’t even last 2-3 hours without checking your phone, that’s embarrassing for you. People checking their phones in the cinema is such a pet peeve of mine – even when your phone’s on it’s lowest brightness setting, you can see it, and it’s really distracting, especially for more atmospheric films with lower lighting. It’s not behaviour we should be encouraging. People go to the cinema to escape, and seeing a little bright rectangle of light out of the corner of your eye is enough to bring you back to reality.

(It actually seems like they’ve become less harsh on people using their phone. Even just five years ago, before every film there’d be a trailer commanding you to turn your phone off, but recently the adverts have become less demanding.)

The question remains though, how do we get the elusive millennial to go to the cinema? If the answer isn’t phones, then what could it be? Other than apps, what else do millennials like? AMC have instead decided to focus on a better sound system, more comfortable seating and better food and drink; all good options, but ultimately the choice about whether or not I want to go to the cinema really depends on the films out. Let’s say I fancy a movie tonight.



April isn’t really Oscar season but that is a pretty poor showing right? Going to the cinema is like an event, and none of these films are really inspiring me to leave the house when I could just watch Parks and Recreation in my pyjamas again. It’s an age old argument; “there’s too many sequels and remakes and blah blah blah,” and while that’s true, I’d take sequels and remakes if they were actually any good! The reason people are staying at home and watching TV is because while TV’s going through a golden age, cinema is seeming a little stale.

That being said, there have been some absolute gems in the past year, including both big budgets and indies, featuring diverse casts, complex characterisation and thoughtful direction. Maybe it’s just bad timing. Actually, The Jungle Book looks like it’s getting good reviews, maybe I’ll watch that this weekend.

The cinema in Nottingham is charging £17.10 for an IMAX 3D ticket for The Jungle Book in opening weekend, and £14.60 for a student ticket.

Never mind.

As much as I love going to the cinema, there’s no way I’d be prepared to spend £17.10 for a ticket, and I’d rather not ask my parents to remortgage their house every time I fancy a film. Even without the IMAX and 3D it’s still £11.10, which is a lot of money to spend on a film I’m not even sure I’ll like. This isn’t even taking transport and cinema snacks into consideration. (And before you say “why don’t you just not have snacks,” what kind of cinema experience is snackless you monster.)

So, as it turns out Millennials (at least this millennial) are fairly simple. We don’t need to text or tweet during a movie, we just want a good movie that we don’t need to sell our kidneys for. Its really not that complicated a concept. I wish I could go to the cinema more often, but sometimes it’s just not feasible or just not worth it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check my phone. It’s been about 3 hours and I’m starting to panic.