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Are movie theaters headed for extinction?

The near-simultaneous release of the film "Bubble" in theaters and on DVD has prompted some interested reactions in the blogosphere and elsewhere that focus on evolving social behavior more than technology or marketing.


Some see the "Bubble" development as one of the clearest examples to date that we, as a society, are moving away from shared experiences in entertainment. The phenomenon arguably began with the invention of the phonograph and has been made repeatedly throughout history with the introduction of other personal media ever since, a popular topic with the transistor radio and, especially in the 1980s, the Sony Walkman and the VCR.

Those concerned about the prospect of an increasingly isolated society are even more concerned in the digital age, citing the proliferation of the iPod, downloadable TV shows, more on-demand movies and, now, with the "Bubble" DVD release. Not everyone thinks this is a positive trend, but few see it ever reversing.

Blog community response:

"The world of pop culture is clearly moving past the era of shared experience. Of course, no one knows yet how the movie's going to do, or if it's any good. But this new strategy is a sign of things to come."
--New Persuasion

"There can be something magical about the shared experience of the audience sitting in the dark. But too often these days the experience is tainted for me by people talking, eating or slurping huge cartons of coke before tossing them aside. Increasingly, I find myself content to wait a few months (or even a year) for the DVD."
--Geoff Coupe's Blog

"The worry is that if DVDs come out too soon after release, movie theaters will go away. I doubt that. As long as people want to be part of a shared experience, as long as THX sound makes the seats rumble, as long as teenagers want to get away from their parents, there will be movie theaters."