Why do we go to the cinema?

It doesn’t make sense really. Why do cinemas charge extortionate amounts for film tickets (and popcorn) when illegally downloading movies and buying dodgy DVDs has become so ubiquitous in recent times?

There are a couple of reasons why this may be. It’s either because the company director’s of Showcase, Cineworld, Vue et al have pretty useless financial advisers. Or it might be because cinemas enjoy ripping-off the suckers who want to watch films legitimately.

So anyway, I decided to be one of those suckers the other night. I went to watch Conan the Barbarian, no not by myself, I’m not a loser, I went with my mum…

The film was pretty mediocre, it’s not really not worth watching, unless, of course, you enjoy limbs (and noses) being chopped off, heads being smashed in and nudity – there was quite a bit of that actually. Not recommended for the squeamish, or – may I add – the devoutly religious.

I can’t imagine watching that film in 3D; every single person in the room would have had a heart attack – all four of us.

I remember when there was a real buzz when 3D first came to cinemas – especially when Avatar came out in 2009. But, since then, it has been a bit of an anticlimax; most people’s frustration is not with 3D itself but with the silly glasses you have to wear.

3D has existed in some form since the 1950s – it’s not new technology like some think. What is new, though, is 3D without glasses, also known as a hologram (the technology is expected to launch within two years or so).

Back to the cinema industry. What’s the future? Well, cinemas across Britain saw an increase in box office takings in 2010 but a 2% decrease in the amount of people attending – according to the British Film Institute. The upsurge in takings has been attributed to the higher prices of 3D tickets – with the highest grossing film of 2010 being Toy Story 3. The cinema industry is far from dead.

As long as new technology is produced (i.e 3D or holograms) and box office smashes are vivaciously churned out, cinemas will survive, and, of course, continue to over-charge.

TVs are getting bigger, slimmer and cheaper, with higher resolutions and better sound systems. And they do, in a way, continue to pose a threat to the cinema industry. But people have had home-cinema systems for years. The reason why people go to the cinema is for the overall experience – no matter how hard one tries to emulate it, the home experience doesn’t quite match it.

Next film to watch: Lion King in 3D (October 7). Now that film is priceless.