Why Did You Stop Going to the Movies? – Hollywood in Toto

It’s the most commonly shared opinion this film critic hears.
“I don’t go the movies as much as I used to.
And that refrain came before the pandemic shut down theaters in 2020.
That’s anecdotal, of course. Now, the evidence is more compelling, and frightening, especially if you make a living in La La Land.
People stopped going to the movies this year in alarming numbers, and it got worse as the holidays approached.
The raw numbers tell the story.
The gross for 2022 domestic now looks like $7.5 billion, perhaps 15 percent lower than the year’s lowball $8.5 billion projection and far off the $11.2 billion of 2019 (which, at today’s ticket prices, would be over $13 billion).
Earlier in 2022, we saw modest-sized hits like “The Lost City,” “Elvis” and “The Woman King” show non-franchise fare could draw a crowd, even if other films stumbled upon arrival (“Bros,” “Devotion,” “Father Stu”).
It’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” and little else.
Studios release their awards-season contenders in the waning weeks of the year, and while they lack the snap of a franchise extension or superhero romp they still can sell some tickets.
What changed?
This critic reached out, via Twitter, for some informal reactions to a simple question: Why did you stop going to the movies? The answers suggest a near-perfect storm of causes that go far beyond fears of the waning pandemic.
The rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and Hulu means more first-rate content delivered right to our flat-screen TVs. Recent streaming originals like “The Gray Man,” “Prey” and “Hocus Pocus 2” look identical to their big-screen peers.
Same stars. Similar budgets.
So why go to the movies when you can watch first-run content without reaching for the car keys?
The pandemic accelerated this trend, no doubt. Still, films are arriving faster and faster on VOD platforms now, meaning crowds can wait just a few weeks before seeing theatrical releases at home.
Liberal Hollywood
The industry has been left-of-center for decades, but today’s stars push their political views in ways we haven’t seen in the past. Social media. Viral videos. Softball interviews. And it’s often brimming with rage against those who don’t align with their worldviews.
You can not reason with a Trump supporter. They believe that a Lying Criminal who doesn’t give a flying fuck about them was sent to them by God. Don’t try to reason. Just Vote. Vote like our Democracy depends on it. Because it does.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) April 29, 2022

That has alienated a small but growing number of film goers who prefer not to support stars who rhetorically spit in their faces. Gracious A-listers like Tom Cruise and Dwayne Johnson are now the exception, not the rule.
Lack of Quality Product
“Babylon” and “Amsterdam” are two of the year’s biggest flops. The former has some admirers. The latter? Not so much. Even films arriving with plenty of buzz prove less than award worthy. Think “The Whale” as a fine example.
Over and again movie fans lament the sorry state of modern storytelling. It’s one reason “Top Gun: Maverick” popped as it did. Both critics and fans adored it, and its rugged tale of a fallen hero’s final chance at redemption proved impossible to resist.
The Biden Economy
Be careful what you wish for …
Hollywood, Inc. rallied to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. Now, they’re stuck with an 80-year-old leader with no clue how to steer the economy out of the ditch. That’s dramatically impacting Hollywood as a whole, and even streaming services are crunching some serious numbers of late.
It’s also forcing potential movie goers to make some tough choices.
Food … or film tickets?
High-Tech Man Caves
Gen X and Baby Boomers grew up watching a TV set with a 25 inch screen. Today, that’s considered appropriate for your computer monitor.
Flat-screen TVs are more affordable than ever. That means your Man Cave or movie room can boast a 65-inch screen with high-def visuals and a state-of-the-art sound system. That makes home viewing far superior to past living room arrangements.
It’s also a wonderful way to watch movies without being interrupted by noisy patrons. Need a bathroom break? Just hit the “pause” button.
That technological advance, along with the comforts of home, means the theatrical model is less and less appealing.
The people have spoken, and Hollywood should be concerned as we head into 2023.
Let’s wrap by sharing some of the Twitter responses to the question at hand. Please share your own observations below, too.
The box office numbers are shockingly low …
Why did we stop going to the movies?
— Christian Toto (@HollywoodInToto) December 26, 2022

I desperately wanted to take my little to the movies this holiday season, but there is nothing out for families with young children…
People know it’ll just be streaming in a week or so if not immediately…
For me personally, I stopped going because it’s more comfortable to watch at home. I have a good enough TV and sound for me, more comfy chair, plus if I have to go to the loo, I can pause it. There hasn’t ever been a movie I “had” to see at a theater, I just wait and stream it…
The cost of the experience has become prohibitive. It’s cheaper to watch at home…
For me, it’s the product. Since prices have gone up, I’ve become more selective. And a lot of what’s been coming out lately just doesn’t interest me. Thor was the last thing I saw and I didn’t enjoy it, so I’ll be staying home more…
Simple, for our family of 5 to go & watch 1 movie will set us back $120. We still go but only every now & then…
Going to the movies used to mean a lot to me. But I stopped long before the pandemic…
And now? There’s just no reason for me to go anymore. I’ve asked myself, is it the movies, or is it me? It’s both. And I can do something about only one of them…
I’m sick of the pro-gay, pro-woman, pro-black and anti-male propaganda.
Movies are: 1) Awful, not original and pale copies of the original
2) Woke: male and white hating
3) Too expensive
4) Loaded with progressive propaganda
5) Humorless
6) Anti-American
Exactly this. Why would I want to have my face rubbed in The Narrative by actors and directors who hate me?
I just want a fun story that’s consistent and rooted in some sort of realism. Even if it’s a fantasy epic, keep it likely. I’m fed up of seeing some 65lb black lesbian defeating the entire Dragon Army Of Eternal Hellfire whilst all the men twice her size hang around like dipshits waiting to be insulted.. Yeah, The Witcher writers – I’m looking at you.
These days I’d rather read the original books than watch any film mAdE fOr A mOdErN AuDiEnCe and actually enjoy the lore and the story as the author intended. The huge screen that the author of this article spoke of is now there purely for sports.
The author didn’t quite get it. He got the issues of “Liberal Hollywood” and “Lack of Quality Product”, but he didn’t get that Liberal Hollywood contaminates the product with wokeness and SJW signaling that causes a large portion of “Lack of Quality Product”. As you pointed out, they’re creating woke propaganda, not entertainment.
Could it be that movies suck? Even for free/stream/DVD the question we always ask is “Is it worth the 90mins?” For the last few years the answer has been fairly consistently no. Its not worth even the time.
Amazon could have released Reacher and The Terminal List as theatrical movies, but chose instead to stream them as serials.
But streaming is not the ultimate answer.
I look at the lists on Amazon or STARZ and get the same feeling I did when I used to walk through my local video store past literally thousands of titles: “not interested.”
My lack of interest is proven by how many movies and streaming series I began on Prime, but never continued. Simply not worth my time.
Have you noticed you can no longer remove from “Currently Watching” those movies or series that you started and didn’t like? You can’t remove them anymore on the streaming app or Roku but must go to your computer and login to Amazon Prime to remove anything you don’t want to continue.
The latest season of “The Boys” was so repulsive in the first episode we want to get rid of it but can’t.
Consider some other factors driving the decline in theater-going:
Crime. Urban and suburban crime rates are sharply up. Why risk going to a cinema if you could be robbed or accosted going from car to ticket booth? Also, will car windows be smashed.
Gas Prices. Movie theaters are often 5-10 miles away for many suburbanites. gas prices are often the straw that breaks the camel’s back when debating a movie trip.
Women’s preferences. Back in the day, going to the movies was considered a valid date or “date night” option. Now it isn’t, for many women. Sure they will Instagram a premiere or trendy independent film, but otherwise they get no social credit from their friends for going to multiplex with their man. Plus, their fear of crime is higher. Plus plus, many of them say that theaters aren’t clean. It just isn’t considered a special experience any more. If Hollywood wants a future, it needs to cater to needs of women, especially suburban professionals in the key 20-45 age range.
Add to that: kid’s movies that include fart jokes and other things that kids will annoyingly repeat for the next 6 months. Casual swearing in movies puts parents off too. Finally, time cost. If a movie isn’t good, at home, it is easy to find another. If you are in a theatre, you’re stuck.
I think a couple of things are missing. Things that the movie industry and theaters did to themselves.
Number one; sound volume. With modern movie audio (THX, high-dynamic range) and modern theater sound systems the sheer volume is enough to hurt my ears. I would walk out with numb hearing as if I’d been to a rock and roll concert. My wife would actually wear ear plugs to cut down the volume. When we would complain about the excessive volume we were told that the sound system has no volume control and it was actually controlled by the movie itself and the theater had no ability to adjust it. (This, of course, is bullshit… any and every audio system has a volume knob somewhere in it.)
Number two; no breaks (intermissions). Even as movies get longer and longer, they have eliminated intermissions. I think it’s been decades since they made a movie with an actual intermission in it (Ben-Hur, Dr. Zhivago, etc). When you research this, you will find that the theaters are actually prevented by contract to create their own intermissions by pausing or interrupting the movie. Only the movie producer can create and OK an intermission. This means there’s never a chance to use the restroom or get more snacks (don’t theaters make their money from snacks??) without missing a good portion of the movie.
Yes, technology fixed both of these problems. DVD’s and streaming at home put the user back in control and fixed these annoyances. But the movie industry and theater corporations created these problems themselves!
Three major franchises, Star Wars, MCU and James Bond weren’t just exhausted, but seemed to turn against their fan base. That started years ago. Plenty of other movies came out that were antagonistic to what could have been the target audience. Ghostbusters [2016] is one of those. Covid just made it obvious that the elite class weren’t fond of the general public while we became reliant on home entertainment options.
Another reason – theater audio is too loud. I’m attending a movie, not a rock concert. The last movie I saw in a theater made me want to bring earplugs.
The writing is terrible. The movies are written so poorly I’m always disappointed if not insulted. The characters are repulsive, the plots predictable, and the messaging relentless.
We stopped going because the films stink. We go to be entertained — not to be scolded or lectured to. If you can’t do that, my family won’t buy your products.
Thank You!! Movies stink. It’s the same plot over & over. If it made $5 a few years ago, let’s redo it with a different set & put it out there again. Beyond that, I’m sick of watching 120lb. 23 year old women try and act like they are saving the world kick boxing big hulking guys. There isn’t a plot line that doesn’t scream “I am woman hear me roar”. It’s breathtakingly stupid & totally uninteresting for me. There is no humor, no character development, no script. Hollywood RIP.
Reminds me of a Henry Rollins interview where he was referencing some social-issue music band with scolding lyrics hollering at an audience member: “Hey you! STOP SMILING!”
Nobody wants the lgbtxyz blm bulls***, but Hollywood is being bent over by China who is trying to destroy the US. So I say f*** Hollywood in the neck.
I am struggling really, really, really hard to understand how freaking STUPID anyone must be to not understand WHY millions of Americans are refusing to step foot into a movie theater, to pay for grotesquely over priced tickets and get then viciously butt raped at the concession stand for a lousy box of popcorn or for a watered down soda pop. Are these confused idiots in possession of even a single healthy, properly functioning brain cell?
Let me provide a short summary. Every single movie (or TV show) that oozes out of the nether regions of the tribe who owns and controls Hollywood is vehemently and viciously spewing never ending, vitriolic levels of raw HATE and venom at White Americans. Every new movie or TV show pushes anti-white themes, messages, and constant demonization of White European people.
Oh, and let me not forget to mention that every movie or TV show that oozes out of Hollywood pushes the most vehemently anti-Christian, anti-Christ, anti-White American traditional values poison, anti-White Southern heritage propaganda that is so vile and offensive that it could have only originated from the evil brain of Satan himself.
Yet, these Hollywood imbeciles claim that they can’t figure out why White Americans are refusing to ingest their nauseating and disgusting garbage?
I couldn’t agree more. What’s the point of deliberately turning off half of your potential revenue base? These folks sure don’t know much about business.
1. I like good action adventure, but I’ve never warmed to superism as a concept, and it’s dominated action-adventure for the past decade.
2. I’m sadly not woke enough for most story lines now. Franchises have all turned into “The Further Adventures of Mary Sue.” I like women as much as the next guy, but perfect and smug is not a good hook for a main character. The story line of Avatar left such a bad taste in my mouth that I’m likely not to see the sequel, no matter how beautiful the underwater scenes are. I’ll watch snippets of it on TV someday, maybe with the sound turned off.
I don’t have a home theater and every week scan the offerings at the local theaters – a lot of horror movies, probably because they’re cheap to make, and movies with intriguing names and nebulous plot descriptions, but with a featured cast of A-list Hollywood wokesters, so the smart money says they’re preachy in a bad way. Saw about eight movies at the theater in 2022, probably do the same in 2023, compared to 15-20 a year in the nineties and aughts. I haven’t changed as much as the movies have changed. Characters+Story+Setting+Music.
Because comic books became graphic “novels,” and movies became cartoons.
I stopped going because of two reasons:
1) liberal Hollywood. Why should I put money into the pockets of people that disrespect and despise me? Screw em. There are numerous entertainment avenues. Europeans put out much better quality tv series and movies and Koreans are also putting out good quality series.
2) poor quality product. Let’s face it the plots are easy to decipher and outcomes are easy to guess. Trite cliche’s dominate the writing and repetitive chase scenes, and pyrotechnics are now boring and tiresome. That is not entertainment. Crappy people are putting out a crappy product.
The last time my family went to a “theater” was to see Titanic. The picture was out of focus the sound had a blown woofer and a bunch of dindus tried to rob me. Luckly my friend is a MMA fighter and the chief thug got a broken arm and busted ribs. Anyway I now have a projector with a cinemascope 165″ image. And 25,000 watts of sound. I have only seen one theater that was better and that was a 70mm film based IMAX theater in Rochester NY
I stopped going to movies years ago because my fellow movie goers are inconsiderate knuckle heads. They arrive late, light up cell phones, talk, and shout. They argue and even fight. It’s like the day room in a mental hospital. Don’t ask how I know that.
Starting in the 70s, writers became obsessed with “anti-heroes” (rebels without a clue), and ever darker views of humanity. Everything is sh*t, everything is corrupt. Next they forgot how to conceive, let alone tell, a story. Premise/setup, complication, resolution, became premise/setup, complication, dissolve into incoherence and irrelevance. Heroic triumph, character development, growth, spiritual or moral evolution became impossible when everything and everyone is corrupt. Life in the suburbs was dark, shallow and empty, redeemable only by pederasty, adultery and homosexuality (American Beauty.) Then came the obsession with apocalypse and sucking whirlpools of regressive degeneracy of individuals (Sopranos, Breaking Bad, etc., etc.) Streaming isn’t helping that trend.
At theaters, it’s comic books, tedious sermonizing, or the world as seen through the eyes of your average Hollywood screenwriter, which is to say, immature, utterly conformist and morally twisted.
In short, there’s almost nothing ever worth watching.
I find the TV and movies are woke and going for “diversity” always when it should not be there. For example Bridgerton immediately turned me off as it was suppose to be happening in mid 1800s England yet a good part of the cast was not white and this would not match the time period. Hollywood is playing diversity and LGBTQ almost constantly in Movies, TV, and commercials. I gave up on all as I do not need to pay for anything.
In the past year I have watched only a couple new movies out and it was Top Gun-Maverick and The Adam Project and most TV was streaming Blue Bloods, NCIS, and older CSI. Other movies were older via streaming.
“It’s also forcing potential movie goers to make some tough choices.
Food … or film tickets?”
Easy choice: Food.
I have seen nothing recently (save Maverick) which even remotely interesting and I haven’t even seen Maverick. It has been years since Hollyweird has presented anything even remotely interesting. Frankly, I don’t miss it.
When I paid 28 bucks for ticket, then 78 bills for popcorn candy and cokes with no ice…
Watch a few K-Dramas on Netflix and you’ll see what H-Wood could be doing. The writing, acting and production values are far better than anything coming out of Hollywood these days. (i.e. “My Mister”). Most have subtitles which many people hate. But their quality is addictive. This is an open invitation to Korean Drama producers to come here and give America what they really want – 2 hours of escape from the constant harping of the Kulture Karens who run everything now.
I stopped going because why would I pay a huge amount of money to see movies by and starring people who hate my guts. And the movies usually suck on top of that. They can make their money from Blue states from now on.
The last thing I saw in the theatre was the 2nd Ant-Man movie, maybe 2018? Those were really the only Marvel films I have enjoyed in a long time. The main reason I stopped going to theaters was all the distractions. People playing with their phones, loud talking and crying infants all contributed to my decision. Also, on more than one occasion, someone felt the need to sit right in front or behind me in a nearly empty theater. Those were the times I wished I could pass gas on command, just for a little payback.
Fortunately, since then, there are only a few things I wished I had seen on a big screen.
I stopped going around the turn of the century, when two big-budget films, neither of them particularly left-wing, gave me a one-two punch of juvenile, pig-ignorant imbecility. They were “The Patriot” and “Pearl Harbor.” Really, really bad screenwriting. I like a movie that’s written well — “Bachelor Mother,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Shepherd of the Hills,” “A Foreign Affair,” “The Quiet Man,” “North by Northwest,” “Third Man on the Mountain,” “Charade,” “Goldfinger,” “Tom Jones,” “Bullitt,” “A Man for All Seasons,” “True Grit,” “The Eagle Has Landed,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Gods Must Be Crazy” “Die Hard,” “Ghostbusters,” “For Richer or Poorer,” to name a few at random. No matter the genre, no matter the stars, good writing is key. I could watch the 20th century’s movies forever. This century’s, not so much.
A decade ago popcorn was $20. That was the last movie I saw.
I just visited my sister over Christmas, and was looking for a movie to go to with her. Everything at the AMC 16 either screamed “woke” or “bad” from looking at the listing, except a cartoon movie “Puss n Boots, the last wish”. So we went to the cartoon, and it was actually quite good. Silly, but good.
Oh, I forgot to mention, AMC’s website is really really bad. I had to fight with it every step of the way. It keeps wanting to know your location on every page, its search would not work, and pages would not load properly. It seems that any kind of anonymizing on your end breaks their site. Most people simply want to find a theater and see what is playing, so I don’t understand what they are thinking for designing a website like that.
There’s nothing new. Hollywood is either remaking old movies or using the same trope in a tired way. It’s boring and there are better ways to spend my time and money. I don’t even watch on streaming services.
The last movie I attended in a theater was Psycho. I had just returned from a stint in Viet Nam, it was a Sunday and all my buddies were out doing girlfriend things so I succumbed to all the hype and went by myself. It was a late afternoon and there were maybe 8 other people in the theater in one of the DC suburbs.. That was what?,,,57 years ago so they have been having problems for quite a while.
Personally I think actors and actresses are made up of people with real personal problems. They spend all day at the movie lot pretending they are someone else. Someone who is smart, kind and brave. Then they go home, wake up and they are the same a-hole they have always been.
Movies are either bad remakes of good movies, or absurdly WOKE. Or both.
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The author didn’t quite get it. He got the issues of “Libera…
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Exactly this. Why would I want to have my face rubbed in The…
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