HOLLYWOOD—Something very strange is happening in Hollywood and the American public right now. It seems ever since COVID-19 exploded onto the scene in late February, early March 2020, the notion of going to the cinema has changed vastly. When nearly everything across the United States shutdown it was a massive adjustment for Americans to understand how isolation worked, and slowing getting back to normal, but it was a new normal.

Streaming exploded as a result of the pandemic and it took a grip on how Americans kept themselves entertained. It dominated our entertainment because we were forced to stay at home. This made Netflix more popular but you saw more streaming services launched like HBO Max (now Max), Disney +, Paramount +, Peacock, Apple TV + and so much more. As a result, the notion of going to the movies as a popular pastime, was not as popular. It wasn’t a result of people NOT wanting to go, but because movies were coming to public. You can watch at home, and it became so popular even myself for a time, didn’t see much of a massive reason to go to the multiplex, when I had a streaming service that allowed me to watch a movie I really wanted from the comfort of my home on the same day it was released.

I didn’t have to spend $20 for a small drink and small popcorn. There wasn’t another $10-$15 being spent on a movie ticket. I remember when movies were first released to the theater, it took them nearly a year before they reached VHS (Video Home System), for those not in the know, you had to rewind those electronic tapes after you watched a movie. Then in the late 90s we were introduced to DVDs (Digital Video Disc) that came out a bit earlier, around six months after a movie hit theaters.

Now, films are able to rent at home within 2-4 weeks after being released at the multiplex. Hell, “Abigail” and “The Fall Guy” are already available to own digitally or rent via streaming at your home. Since you’re at home, why would you need to go to the multiplex? Hollywood has made movie watching so easy that the multiplex I dare not want to say this, is feeling like a thing of the past.

I think people will go when it is something of epic scale like 2023’s “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” but we don’t have that yet for 2024, and I’m not sure if we will at all. I mean look at this past Memorial Day weekend. This is a time when the big blockbusters would arrive and the opening weekend would be $100 million plus if not close to the ranks of $200 million. I mean “The Garfield Movie (2024)” almost outperformed the action-flick, “Furiosa.” I never expected that, not to mention neither film clocked in over $40 million at the box-office.

You know what that told me, people aren’t going to the movies, but the question is why? Do we just not want to? Are the films not delivering that theater vibe that so many of us come to expect? I mean action is best suited on the big screen. Comedy is best with an audience, and horror, hello, you need that dark theater to deliver the vibe and heighten the suspense level of the terror.

There are certain flicks that deserve to be watched in a theater, “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “Jurassic Park,” “Halloween” (1978), “E.T.,” “Independence Day,” I can keep going on, the key is I want the rest of the world to get the picture and they haven’t yet and I worry if it will ever happen.

We haven’t had a big blockbuster dominate the box-office in over a year and I don’t think it’s happening in 2024. There are some big sequels coming out for 2024, but I don’t expect records to be broken and that scares me because if the multiplex disappears, the notion of the moviemaking experience will vastly change, and I don’t think I’m prepared for that.