Across all demographics, the insight is simple: moviegoing is as much- if not more- about who you are going with, as it is about what you are going to watch. It’s the ‘social event’ nature of the cinema experience that inspires people to pay upwards of $15 for a ticket and buy overprices popcorn and drinks, rather than wait for it to come out on DVD. Whether it be a couple on a casual second date, mates chilling on a Sunday afternoon after a big Saturday night or a group of teenagers loitering all day at Crown Street Mall and at some point deciding to see Big Momma’s House 17, it is about social connection, first- and movie choice, second.
Who would have thought going to the movies would be so complex? Hagerstrands developed the idea of the space-time path where the constraints of capability, coupling and authority are factors that impact a person’s effort to go to the cinema. I decided to give this theory a test and head to Hoyts Warrawong.
With this revelation of the cinema as a ‘social event’, I instantly contacted and organised a group of friends to attend the movie’s with. We had all agreed on viewing War Dogs at Hoyts Warrawong (mainly because we like the comfortable seats). Next up was assembling a meeting time, we all live at Campus East so this was a piece of cake. We had organised to leave campus 30 minutes before the film in order to grab a park and order the essential movie snacks. I had offered to drive us there as I had a full tank of petrol, legally allowed to drive, and had driven the route to the cinema previously.
After nailing the constraints of coupling and capability, authority was our next target. We had agreed on viewing War Dogs which was rated MA15+, however this was not an issue as we were all well above the age limit. The cinema seating at Hoyts is selected for you, luckily we were seated at the very back row middle- just how we like it. Although there are multiple advertisements advising movie-goers to turn off their mobile phones, this is not particularly enforced by the usher’s. However, we didn’t really mind the usage of phones during the movie.
For me, the cinematic experience is not some fairground ride but an act of almost religious devotion. I choose to see films in the cinema because I value the act of leaving my house and travelling to see a film. I choose to see films in the cinema because I like sitting in a space designed solely for the purpose of viewing films. I enjoy the distraction-free environment of a quiet cinema and I am more than happy to pay for the opportunity to use it because I believe that it is the best possible environment in which to surrender myself to a director’s vision.
Corbett, J 2001, Torsten Hägerstrand: Time Geography, ‘Centre for Spatially Integrated Social Science.’ Available from: https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/690394/mod_resource/content/2/Hagerstrands%20time%20geography%20%28Corbett%29.pdf> [Accessed: 26.8.16]