Editorials,  Movies/Entertainment

How Much “Magic” Do Films Lose From the Theater to Your Home?

My guess is that anyone reading this just flat-out loves movies. That said, I want to bring up an issue I’ve been kicking around the old noggin…and it just so happens to be about our little vice. To start this off, I’d like to bring up a situation that most of you have probably experienced and can relate to.

Oh boy! Now that’s a theater!!

We’ve all had this happen to us right? We see a trailer for an upcoming film and wait patiently for it. Then opening night (or when ever you get around to see it) we pay good money for (what we believe will be) a good movie. It’s fair to say that the theater itself (mostly the size of the screen…see above) can be very hypnotizing. Once the movie is over, we’re so elated with the whole experience that we rave about the film, write our reviews and probably quote lines from it for the next few days after. Then it happens. We want to see it again but decide to wait for its release on Blu-ray or DVD. Until that time comes we build up the movie, forgive some of the short-comings in light of the overall feeling we had leaving the theaters. Then months later this “great movie” is available for home viewing.

Now fast forward to any given “New Release Tuesday” where we take our hard-earned money and (should you feel the movie was worth it in the first place) plunk down 20+ bucks for your own personal copy of the movie. Boy, it’s like Christmas, only it happens more frequently (WIN)…and sometimes there’s a coupon for a few dollars off. “I can’t lose” you say to yourself at the register (or before clicking “Checkout” from some online retailer). Whatever length of time that occurs from the time of purchase to the inaugural play on your media device, you’re awaiting that private viewing in the comfort of your own domicile. Then it happens, the film you are watching is not the film you remember and you feel like some of the “magic” is lost and that bit which, to you, made the film extraordinary is nowhere to be found. Pity really.

One thing I will have to point out is the undeniable fact that some experiences just can’t be replicated. For instance, if you go back and watch The Sixth Sense again, you probably can’t forget that Bruce Willis is in fact, dead. No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to watch it like you did for the first time. Second thing, the more obvious one I’d wager, is that very few people can replicate an 85 foot screen in their home. So to watch something like Avatar at home is almost a diluted experience that will pale in every way possible when it is released for home viewing.

Regardless of the setting in which you first saw the film (e.g. dark theater with no people talking or texting during the feature) I can’t tell you how many films I just loved in the theater and was shocked how unimpressed I was with them at home. Certain elements greatly impact the second viewing and do so to contribute to a less than favorable second viewing. Unfortunately, for about 70% of my experiences, the home viewing left me disappointed. The factors (be it the plot, the pacing, or anything the list of successful steps to cinematic greatness) are irrelevant but it simply goes back to me holding that anything I see on the Big Screen as the be-all, end-all way to experience the film. Maybe that’s just the personal stigma I have to break myself of, but I still think there’s always going to be something lost in the transition between the big screen and small screen.

Very much not a theater…

My list of films that have disappointed after home viewing range from films that actually are really are disappointing, all the way to current Oscar nominees. It’s almost like no matter what critical (or personal) acclaim begets the film in question, watching it at home leaves me luke-warm. What gets me is that films like Inglurious Basterds had me thinking it was one of the finest movies I’d ever seen while exiting the theater, only to discover it wasn’t quite as thrilling as I remembered it (but I still really love it). So far the only remedy I have found for this is to simply wait out the theatrical release and buying or renting the movie when it is released to own…but where’s the fun in that??

16 Blocks, District 9, Daddy Day Care are some films I really enjoyed in the theater but later found to be a let down when viewing them at home. So with that said, I ask you all…What films did you find simply don’t live up the theater? How many films can you recall that don’t fare well seeing it a second time? Am I the only one thinking this way??


  • Ross McG

    great post again Marc, have to say I think youre on a bit of a roll with these topics lately, and you know me, I dont give out praise lightly.
    strangely, I think Im the complete opposite of you – I actually enjoy a film more when I get round to seeing it on DVD.
    I know Im in the minority but I reckon Avatar didnt lose that much on my tiny TV screen. if its a good film its a good film (although many will dispute that in the cast of Avatar).
    I watched Inglouriously Badspelling at Christmas on DVD and was as amazed on enjoying it second time round as I had been the first time round. there is so much about that film i shouldnt like and yet most of it just works despite itself.
    UP is another recent example of a film that I loved on Dvd just as much as i did in the cinema
    Ive lost count of the number of films I didnt like on the big screen only to rediscover and enjoy them on dvd – Vanilla Sky, War of the Worlds… (not all of them have Tom Cruise in them).
    it makes me want to be less narrow-minded when I say somethings rubbish after one viewing. although sometimes one viewing is all you need of a crap film.
    your point is an interesting one, however, but i guess personally i enjoy the intimate at-home experience as much as the big screen one

    • Marc

      Wow, thanks for the comment Ross! Great, now put the pressure on for me do do another post that lives up to your standards:P Funny enough I thought UP lost something the second time I saw it…even on Blu Ray. But then I got to see it in the theaters for the 3rd time (at this year’s Dallas Intl Film Festival) in 3D and that made me really love the movie all over again.

      Basically I’m not saying everything loses its appeal on the small screen and I agree totally when you say “if it’s a good film, it’s a good film”. Just sometimes I may go absolutely bonkers for a film in the theater only to find it was not as grandiose as I had it in my mind…but maybe that’s just my experience. Also, I still just LOVE Basterds, it’s just that internal hype bringing it down a peg or two:(

    • Jack

      Hi There,

      Gotta say, I agree with you to a point, but I have maintained for a long time that if a film is truly great, it will stand up on its own legs, whether it’s being watched in the greatest, most comfortable theater or while you’re taking a dump and watching it on your iPod. However, there have been films that I thought were awesome in the theater simply because of the crowd’s reactions. The A-Team, Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 and Superman Returns are 3 movies that I would rank 6/10 at best, but in the theater, there was nothing more magical than hearing the audience cheer when Superman saved the jet Lois Lane was on. The A-Team was a movie bursting with adrenaline soaked insanity, and to me, would only be enjoyable on the big screen, since the plot is paper thin. For the most part, I will always argue that a good film is a good film, but sometimes you need to see those “event” type films in the theater to get the most out of them. Good post!

      • MarcC

        Well I’m not saying that everything is going to lose appeal and entertainment value at home. Not at all. I agree totally that the story is what makes the movie work despite the size of the screen or the venue. But I think you hit on a point I was trying to make and that’s the theater involvement. If you’re laughing til it hurts at The Hangover, getting fired up while watching The Transporter, or being mystified by The Matrix or Inception, yes that doesn’t translate to times watching the same film sitting on your couch. Especially if you have a room full of people enjoying the film as much as you are. That’s also part of the magic I’m referring to. Thanks for bringing up that point and the comment Jack!

  • mill1924

    I think a lot do. The Dark Knight was epic in theaters, but on DVD just didn’t quite have the same scale of stimulation. I think that’s common among big action blockbusters like Avatar.

    • Marc

      Totally agree with you. While I still can appreciate the story of TDK (as it is just a home run of a film), the visuals do lose some of their potency on the small screen. It’s that one prime reason that I’ll never ever see Avatar again, unless I decide to pony up more money and see it while it’s being re-released on IMAX in 3D.

  • Castor

    Marc, fantastic post but unlike Ross, I don’t think you can do it again. I’m kidding naturally 😉 I think it varies on all type of factors from how big your TV is, to whether you have surround sound at home, or your mood at the time of the viewing. TDK is a great example of a movie that was great the first time in theater and then disappointed in subsequent viewing (at least for me!). Some movies are like that while others, I sometime enjoy even more at home and can’t stop watching.

    • Marc

      Geeze, compliments from Ross and Castor!! Well there goes my ego:) The only thing better is if I get an email from Roger Ebert saying “Hey Marc, Roger here. I just came across this, though it was very fine work. Congrats“…now that would make my day:P

      Yes, the size of the TV at home does help transition the film better from the theater to your home, but the mood is a definite factor to take into consideration. Can’t fully get intot a film if you’re stressed out from work or the phone is ringing off the hook (or vibrating off the table for those who don’t have land line phones anymore). But you’re also right, I have a handful of movies that I enjoy more at home than I did in the theater…just not enough to bring up in the post:P

  • Steve

    A champion post, Marc. This isn’t an easy one to tackle, so I’m glad someone’s doing it instead of me.

    I guess it goes without saying that all the 3D films suffer when they come home. I was thinking today that Coraline was a real bringdown in 2D, comparitively speaking of course.

    I think I might have crossed over to the other side otherwise though. Most of the time, I’d prefer to watch a flick in the privacy and serenity of my living room. If it weren’t for the whole having to wait for it come out on video thing, that might be the way I’d do it all the time, other than feeling the need to hit the cinema out of a craving for the ritual of the whole thing. I think Im just getting old & soft.

    • Marc

      Thanks a bunch Steve! I have quite a comfortable living room (we call it the media room) to watch movies and play game in. Flat screen on the wall, painted and lots of AV stuff to make it all work. But even that still pales a bit when compared to the theater experience (even if it is a crappy movie or the audience is lit up with cell phone screens). Interesting you refer to an outing at the cinema as a ritual… great way of putting it. But would you call rampant movie hopping (like 4 or 5 movies at a time)with your friends a “ritual”, or petite crime?:P

  • Klaus

    As a ’60s kid our family was the first in our neighborhood to have a colour TV – and we would happily watch anything televised in the glorious pastel colours that it would reproduce from the free analogue signal of the day.

    Notwithstanding the considerable improvements in 20thC analogue television capability – I was, until quite recently, continually disappointed by films at home as compared to my theater experience.

    However, with the recent purchase of a considerably larger wide-screen high definition television – I feel like a seven year old again – impressed by everything that i’m re-watched from my movie library. I expect that the novelty will wear off soon enough – and once again I will be underwhelmed by new releases and seek the big screen for all the latest thrills.

    • Marc

      Thanks for stopping by Klaus. I think disappointment with home viewing is why electronics manufacturers are trying to push 3D technology into household TVs. It helps sell that experience you could only get from a theater. Personally I don’t think I need to see Sleepless in Seattle or Everybody Loves Raymond in 3D. But for some, it’ll be more like “being there” than simply watching a DVD/BRD outright on any TV.

      I have a large Sony LCD on my Media Room wall but it still is a far cry from the cinema…maybe I just have to sit reaaaallly close:)

  • rtm

    It’s this kind of thought-provoking commentary that makes your blog awesome, Marc, but then you already knew that 🙂 For me, the movies I love watching again and again are the ones where the story instead of the visuals are the main dish, so I don’t expect to see the same glorious visuals that I saw in the movie theater, but if there are scenes/dialog/performances that speak to me or that I connect with, then the ‘magic’ remains. That’s why the visual thrill can only do so much, there are other factors that make me want to buy the movie and watch something repeatedly. My TV is like 3-4 years old, and every time I walked around Costco I’m amazed how crisp and clear the new flat screens are with only half the price we paid for ours!

    • Marc

      OK, so everybody does love me…that really makes me happy!! Thanks Ruth:)

      True, it’s precisely the reason I just adore Up in the Air…and I only saw it on DVD. If the plot/acting is great it can make up for not having great effects. That’s why “Up in the Air” and “Precious” were in the running with films like District 9 (which also had a great story) and Avatar (which was more flash and less substance).

      Also, I too get that depressed feeling seeing the newer nicer TVs. I thought once digital/HD became abundant, there would be no room for improvement. I was wrong:( Guess I gotta start saving up again…but this time (as you noted) they are affordable and not entirely offputtingly expensive.

  • Olive

    I prefer watching films at the cinema rather than DVD, as I just like the atmosphere of the big screen. Also, you’re right films that are all about the visual effects like Avatar, are best left for the cinema and can be a bit of a let down, if you watch them on DVD.
    Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but there are too many distractions at home, like the phone, doorbell; there isn’t the same level of escapism…

    • Marc

      That’s precisely why I wrote this post Olive! At home I am finding it more and more difficult to be free of the distractions you mention and more being a commuter, a home owner and a husband. Sure wish I had a nice enough set up in my house to truly call it the MOVIE ROOM, and get that theater feeling…some day, yes, some day:)

  • Film Addict

    I haven’t really watch a lot in theaters as most of the movies I watch…I watched at home on DVD. If I fall in love with them, its because I consider it to have a great story and acting…or just fun…despite not having the”magic” (Saw 500 Days of Summer again this time at home and still great)… there are no great louder audio and big images to distract…from the actual story telling. Drama is a genre that would still work well watching at home or even comedies. While action/ adventure/thrillers would, I guess suffer severely when you lose all those “magic”.

    @Olive – Actually I think one would have more control over the movie watching experience at home and therefore have less distractions. You can control the lighting, audio, have subtitles and the people you watch with. And you can also have your phone on silent mode. While in the theater… you might have some annoying guys having little conversations over everything that happens on screen…someone kicking your seat…handphones ringing…the possibilities are endless…none of which you have control over. And you can’t rewind to the last scene you just missed and watch it again… 🙂

    • Marc

      Well to clear things up a bit, the majority of the “magic” I refer to in the post is less about the elements in the movie and much more attributed to the set up in theater: the size of the screen, the surround sound, the ultra plush seats and the feel of a dark auditorium.

      I agree that a drama or comedy will in most cases be the same at a theater and at home. In a home environment you lose some of the impact of the effects in a Blockbuster but the story itself does go a long in keeping a movie exciting or enthralling. It’s a given that you would be hard pressed to replicate the set-up found in a theater at home but most times I am able to contend with the environmental differences. I am actually disappointed at the discovery that some films which I thought were good only appealed to me because I saw them in the theater (like some big screen hypnosis), even if I had to contend with theater distractions as you mention. To me, that’s the worst fate of all because it’s not the film I fell for, it was the lure or “magic” of the theater.

  • Brady

    The two movies that instantly come to mind are Kung Fu Panda and Caché. I saw Kung Fu Panda in theatres and was totally surprised by how much fun it was. It was totally unexpected. When I watched it recently on my laptop (because how else do we watch movies in this ultra modern age?) it was so underwhelming. All of the fun and the action just seemed so mundane.

    Caché I never saw in theatres, but the first time I saw it was on a plane! The worst place to watch movies. But I loved it and was totally gripped. But again, on the rewatch… less exciting. Maybe it was because I knew I wasn’t going to get a freaking answer. *Mumbles about European endings*


    • MarcC

      Great example with Panda. I had a similar experience but it still wasn’t as disappointing as others I could name. And God, don’t get me started on airplane movies. Though if it wasn’t for American Airlines playing House M.D. on my trip to Japan I would never have become the avid fan I am today.

      And European endings really don’t care how they’re perceived do they…”hey, how about some exposition or tie up at least one loose end huh?” hahahaha

  • steve

    i don’t really buy into cinema magic dross great movies stay great no matter what screen you watch them on. i watched the Expendables on one of the biggest screens i have ever seen and it was still the most god awfull thing i have ever seen. i cant see how it would be possible to worse on dvd Yet i still remember watching Aliens for the first time on a warn out vhs tape on a 20 inch tv and wouldn’t swap it for the world. If anything i think wathing movies at home even better than at the cinema. watching blair witch or paranormal activity is twice as scary watching alone at home late at night, and comedies are even better watching with friends and a few beers. untill cinemas become t2 3d univeral studio style then im more than happy at home.

    • MarcC

      Yeah, if you take a look at my review I didn’t thin that much of The Expendable either:( I think you’re on to something with comedies with friends and beer…then again beer helps bad movies too right?

  • Ross McG

    ha! i came on here to comment on this and then saw i already had in a previous life! thought this topic was familiar. hehe, so what if its out in the ether again six months later, great post Marc. And i do have something to add, backing up my earlier assertion.. last night I watched Iron Man 2 on dvd, having pretty much hated it in the cinema (want evidence? here it is – http://rossvross.com/2010/04/29/rvreview-iron-man-2/ ). this time though i did quite enjoy it. Its still a bit meh though.

  • Tim C

    So, what is this “magic” you speak of? Whether it’s gangs of hostile males, females who txt and talk loudly continuously, parents who allow their young children to run and scream up and down the aisles and theater management that just doesn’t give a damn. Going to the movies has gotten expensive, real expensive for a family, I don’t know about you but spending $60 and above to go see a movie at the theater and having it ruined by any of the above, just doesn’t cut it anymore – call me jaded but the “magic” disappeared from the cinema a very time ago.

    I don’t where you live or where you see movies but where I live (Dallas TX) going to the movies has to be planned like a military operation, cause if you decide to go to to the wrong showing or wrong movie or the wrong theater – your experience is going to be destroyed.

    That’s why I’ll gladly watch movies on my big screen LCD with my 1000W home theater cranked all the way up. I feel safe. I don’t worry if my wife or daughter have got to the bathroom and if real life has to intrude – that’s what the ‘pause’ button is for.

    • MarcC

      Well not every movie I see is a win Tim so you’re no alone in having a terrible experience. I too live in Dallas and I go to either Northpark’s AMC 15 or Studio Movie Grill (I HIGHLY suggest the latter).

      But sometimes a night out, despite a hit or miss movie/experience (or both) can be a nice diversion from a couch viewing. I like going to more mainstream/popcorn films with friends or the wife. However if I want to see something different/special, I’ll see it alone at the Angelika. A night at the theater will never be optimal but when it’s a good time it can be a worthwhile endeavor.

    • MarcC

      Thanks so much Ruth!! This makes my 6th trip to the “Big Show”. But every time is an honor…especially to see my name lumped with /Film and The Guardian and IFC.com. Yes I have geeked out to the highest level of geekdom:)

  • Imo Lomax

    Great article. I must add the experience of leaving the theater and “not” liking the movie, and then actually enjoying it on home video on repeated viewings. First time that happened to me was with “The Running Man”. I was unimpressed and bored. But on a Betamax copy that got into my hands I just rewatched all the way until remembering every piece of frame and dialog.

    Other cases in point: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, “License to Kill”, “Dead Again”, “Boogie Nights”, “Jackie Brown”, “The Insider”, “Fight Club”, “The Green Mile”, “Magnolia” and most recently “Body of Lies”

  • Tom Andrews

    Heres a strange recommendation. Try watching on a portable device with headphones. Really headphones are the key. I have found that the biggest difference between the theater and home is the(I don’t know what to call it) feeling of emersion into the film. There is a connectivity thing that I think you lose when you are at home. Like your not 100% engaged. Oddly enough though. I find headphones really restore a lot of that. Obviously you need a good screen still and iphone is too small, but a computer screen/laptop might work. But a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones really does the trick for me.

    • MarcC

      Good idea Tom, I can totally see how that would help…but not for something like Transformers but Memento, The Usual Suspect would be perfect especially with noise cancelling headphones helping your immersion. Thanks for the comment!

  • kitano0

    Interesting post, for the most part. Of course,most movies will lose some of the magic at home. That’s because, hopefully, the directors are making the movie for optimum viewing on the “big screen”. For awhile there in the Eighties especially, I could tell many movies were shot with the VCR viewer in mind. I thought Burton’s “Batman” was a prime example…it always looked “cramped” to me (along with it’s other problems.)

    However,there are some movies that benefit greatly from home viewing (but not on a laptop, never on a laptop.) One that comes to mind is “Lost in Translation.” It is much more intimate on a smaller screen, and I think on a bigger screen
    some of the nuances of the performances were swallowed up by the incredible Tokyo settings. Small indie movies are usually just fine on the smaller screens, I think.

    That being said, you know that some movies just have to be seen at the theatre. All the Pixars, Inception, etc.

    I just wish I could have seen all of Terrence Malicks movies on the big screen…oh well, the Tree of Life is coming up!

    • MarcC

      Well I’m not really talking about cropping of the screen or the degradation of the transfer. I’m just pointing out there’s some intangible element (what I’m calling magic) that to me makes some films fall flat when in the theater they seemed vibrant and engaging.

      Although I 2000% agree with you on the independent film feeling and your example of Lost In Translation (one of my all time favorites btw) is perfect for a smaller venue.

      But as far as cinematic must sees, Yes, hell yes, Pixar on the big screen is a no brainer:)

  • Alex

    Here’s the thing. Going to the cinema is an experience, going home is not. The reason cinemas will survive is because the true escapism people wish to attain by watching a film cannot be fully attained except if they get away from their familiar environment (home). Unless they do that, they cannot fully escape to another world. That’s what the cinema is meticulously built to achieve– that is the competitive edge of the cinematic experience. Restaurants work the same way. Objectively the food may not be that great but ultimately the experience– the service and the environment– is what makes going to a restaurant special. Since the most profitable demographic at the cinema is teenagers, what teenager doesn’t want to escape the home for a while and go out with friends? It’s all about the experience, and of course there’s pros and cons to everything.

    • MarcC

      True Alex, but the “escape” shouldn’t feel like a hassle because if the movie/experience sucks should be like salt on the open wound. Though I like your point about teenager escapism.

  • Joe Camel

    It’s the overpaying for a seat in the theater that makes us like movies in the theater more. We feel like we HAVE to like it, we drove to the theater, we wasted 10-15 dollars, we spent 2-3 hours with strangers. It’s a shared experience and something subconsciously compels us to remember it positively. But when you purchase something on DVD that’s an investment, really, in the entertainment value of the movie, and buyer’s remorse is easier to have when you’re buying a physical disc with a cheap plastic case over a trip, an experience, or another step in the ritual addiction of going out to see movies, depending on which terms you’ve come to regarding your cinematic fandom.

    • MarcC

      I like your point Joe and I agree. Sometimes it’s that feeling you have to make the movie feel worth the price. Well put and thanks for the comment! But to avoid even the disappointment in buyers remorse with buying the DVD/BD well, that’s what Netflix rentals are for right?:P

  • BJC

    Have you done appropriate control experiments where you go back and re-watch the same film twice in theaters rather than waiting for DVD? If/when you do this, do you still think highly of the film? I think you can only really say that your disenchantment is a product of the small screen rather than just a second viewing in general if you can answer yes to both question. Otherwise it’s just sample bias.

    • MarcC

      Sure it’s a biased statement BJC. This is all my opinion and I’m asking if anyone feel the same. Not like I’m writing a thesis here or anything:P Plus it happens to us all otherwise I wouldn’t feel like writing about it and people wouldn’t leave comments here.

  • Albert

    When I was growing up, we had two Cinerama theatres in the city. (Those who don’t know what Cinerama is – look at the photo of the movie screen up above, and imagine a larger, wider one that’s even more sharply curved. Imagine a picture that big. Then imagine that all the sound, not just the music, the offscreen voices, or the sound effects, is completely directional, corresponding exactly to where the actors are located onscreen. That is Cinerama, and it is better than Imax.

    As I was growing up, I saw many films on a Cinerama screen, among them “The Wonderful world of the Brothers Grimm, the re-release of the 1958 “Windjammer”, “Patton”, “Mary Poppins”, “the Sound of Music”, “Camelot”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Man of La Mancha”, and most memorably of all, “How The West Was Won” and “2001: a Space Odyssey”.

    Not all of these films were in Cinerama, most were in 70mm, but the picture still filled the whole screen.

    Those of you who are curious about Cinerama, look it up on the internet. And take my word for it – there is no way that “How The West Was Won” and “2001” will ever be the same experience on a TV set, even a widescreen one, than on a Cinerama screen. Never.

    • MarcC

      Man I wish I could relate to that experience Albert. That makes me jealous of the days when theaters (like airplanes) were special. Now it’s about money, speed and ROI. Then again it was probably always like that we were just to young to realize it:P

  • MrKlan

    I have to admit, I do not go to the theater often. I had a dry spell from ’04-’08 when I did not go at all. But I honestly feel that I prefer watching movies at home. Especially when I factor in the exorbitant 3-D price, I actually preferred Avatar at home (and I don’t have a fancy home theater by any stretch of the imagination). It helps that I was not impressed with the 3-D. After Avatar and Toy Story 3 (when I took the whole family and I could have bought a brand-new DVD for half the price), I will not shell out for 3-D again.

    And yet, I must acknowledge that some of my stronger memories of movies are of those that I did see in the theater. I guess it must come from making an “event” out of it. I was at a great age when I saw Jurassic Park and Independence Day. I saw all three Lord of the Rings films in the theater with my mom. One of my favorite theater memories is of seeing Apollo 13. Still, I haven’t found a movie that has necessarily “diminished” in the repeat viewings at home; if I loved it in the theater, I still love it now.

    (Oh, and lumping District 9 in with Daddy Day Care?? Boy, I haven’t seen the latter, but I didn’t see D-9 in the theater, just at home; it blew me away the first time, and it blew me away the second. Great film.)

    • MarcC

      Well if you think 3D prices are high you they’re even stiffer in Japan. FYI, a film ticket there costs 15-17 easy and with 3D you could pay almost 25 bucks. Now if that’s not a reason to save your money for the DVD/BD then I don’t know what is. Further I wrote an post about ways studios could offset those high ticket prices for us theater goers…it’ll never happen but if you’re interested check it out: http://www.goseetalk.com/?p=4969

      I have similar memories with JP ID4 as well and they are some of the best times I’ve had. I think though if you’re going to put your money into a movie you really want to see and truly want an “experience” then pony up a few more dollars and see it on IMAX. It seems to be the classiest and best way to see a movie and really get that “magic”. Although it seems the secret is out on that and you still get morons on their cell phones in an IMAX theater. But the movie always seems better on a screen THAT big:)

  • JP

    Marc, you should join us here in 2010 🙂

    Sure, a dvd on a 17 inch standard def. TV is no way to go through life, or watch movies…but a nice bluray player, a sound system that can handle 7.1 lossless audio, a 60+ inch HDTV….man, who needs the theater!

    Actually I think opinion on this matter will reflect much on the type of theater you go to. A beat up, run down one with noisy kids and teens would be a nightmare compared to what I listed above, but a nice well kept theater run by management who knows what they’re doing does have a special feeling. It’s definitely the presentation.

    Last time I went to see a movie in my local theater, the right side of the audio cut out 3/4th of the way in…not very magical!

    • MarcC

      What you don’t like my theater system JP?:P

      I agree with you that the type of theater will undoubtedly make or break your experience. Sure the dollar cinema is no place to enjoy a film, but I’ve not gotten my money’s worth at a nice theater either. In the end you probably never can tell how close to optimal your screening will go but it just goes to show that opinions (like the overall experiences in the theater) are subjective.

  • Irving 143

    I don’t find that most movies suffer in the transition—not if they’re ones i genuinely enjoyed in the first place. To be honest, though, my town no longer has any movie theaters, so first-run flicks have been pretty much a Netflix experience for the last several years.

  • Tom

    Hey Marc,

    I hear what you’re saying. It was because of this that my wife and I set aside movie money for one year and installed a projector and 96″ screen in our basement. The popcorn is never burnt. If someone talks we can send them to their room. The babysitter hates it because now she’s out of work, but for us, first-run movies are when they hit Blu-ray. It’s been a great investment. The magic lives on.

    • MarcC

      Daaaaammnnn…an 8′ screen?? No that’s how you put the theater in your home. Wow, way to go Tom:)

  • Water

    The moment I read the title, I knew Avatar would be mentioned somewhere. I absolutely *loved* it the multiple times I saw it in theaters (in 3D). Watching it on my 17″ computer, I was shocked to find myself chuckling at some of the dialogue and bored by its length. What happened!?! I dunno… but *something* was lost.

    I think David Lynch said it best: “Now if you’re playing the movie on a telephone, you will never in a trillion years experience the film. You’ll think you have experienced it, but you’ll be cheated. It’s such a sadness that you think you’ve seen a film on your f—ing telephone. Get real!”

    • MarcC

      Well that something is what I call “magic”. And I call it that because it seems most things shown on such a huge screen have a way of dazzling and therefore fooling you into enjoying the movie. I like what one commenter said about having to like the movie since the ticket was expensive. However mood and setting go a long way in selling the movie and the overall experience.

  • kizor

    There’s a major difference between watching a movie at home compared with going to a theater. It’s the whole movie going experience: the bucket of popcorn, the strangers gathering in a dark room expecting to be entertained, and most of all the massive screen. When I’m at home, I might pause the movie to answer a phone call or run to the bathroom, but when I’m at a movie I’m fully immersed in the world of that movie for the full duration.

    • MarcC

      Yeah you said it, that’s the big difference. Yet I have more distractions at home than in a theater so while ticket prices aren’t coming down, I prefer the theater to a home viewing…yeah its the screenXD

  • Excuse my English

    Oh, I remember Armageddon, quite cliché, long time ago, but also Atonement; I think it had to do with the intensity of the sound, the music, too. On the other hand there’re a couple of movies I’ve appreciated more a second time at home, such as Big Fish or Lars and the Real Girl.

    • MarcC

      Yeah, that’s the converse comment that’s been coming up often. I like some movies at home that I thought were garbage in the theater. Ahh opinions are fickle things right?:)