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Blockbuster Cinema By The Numbers

Blockbuster Cinema By The Numbers

Last year in the United States, 1.2 billion people went to the movies. While there are fewer theaters than 20 years ago, there are more screens, and more movie releases each year. In fact, 6 of the top 10 highest grossing films were released in the last 5 years. And 2 of those, BLACK PANTHER and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, came out just this year.

Movie theaters are here to stay, despite the popularity of streaming services. In fact, young adults are the most frequent moviegoers, but also the biggest users of streaming services. Rather than replacing the theater, new technology is simply adding to our media consumption. Soon the same immersive technology used in luxury theaters could be added to your home theater.

Surround sound with up to 64 speakers placed on all four walls of the theater as well as overhead provides an immersive experience. Rather than assigning sounds to specific channels, as with older surround sound, products like Dolby Atmos lets filmmakers pinpoint each sound’s apparent location within the theater, including making sounds pan seamlessly around the auditorium.

The screen is another major factor bringing movie-goers back, and not just because it’s big. Technology which uses dual-laser projections to display brighter scenes with more vivid color provides a million-to-one contrast ratio. This technology actually doubles the brightness of standard screens and allows for the display of more nuanced color, increasing the spectrum of colors the screen is able to display.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of these new technologies for the big screen is their scalability to smaller home theaters. While most home viewers don’t have a 64 speaker surround sound system, the technology is available for home use. Most screens are capable of displaying a wider spectrum of colors than their firmware supports, which Dolby Vision can fix with a simple update. Though this is the expensive option – a home theater costs upward of $10k, while you can take a family of four to a luxury theater once a month for five years for roughly half the cost.

The tech that makes movies an immersive experience is what keeps moviegoers coming back for more. Learn more about the affordable luxury of going to the movie theater in this infographic (provided by Dolby Cinemas):


Nic LaRue Nic LaRue is the owner of FilmSnobbery, is an advocate and passionate speaker for indie film, a film reviewer, and the host of the web broadcast series FilmSnobbery Live! Nic also offers his services as an independent film consultant whose passion is giving a voice to independent content creators.


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