BCM · Media, Audience, Place

The Cinema

Cinemas in the past decade have had to make many changes to keep up with the changing social climate. The rise of illegally downloading movies has set considerable strain on the cinema industry, even the advancements in TV panels (OLED screens, flatscreens, curved 50″+) has started to challenge the novelty of the ‘Extreme Screen’ at the cinema. That is not to say that I believe TV’s could ever truly replace the cinema, purely because of the ‘experience’ aspect.

To explain this further I will use my closest cinema as an example. Hoyts Chatswood has been my go-to for every major blockbuster release since I can remember, I’ve seen the first and last Harry Potter movie there, every Jason Bourne film (although I may regret the last one) and many others in between. Yes, my memories of the cinema are fond, the treat of an oversized bowl of popcorn and a choc top are nothing to laugh at. However until recently that is almost the only thing the cinema provides, a novel experience. Watching TV at home has an almost infinite amount of benefits over the cinema, you don’t have to drive, you can eat a proper meal with your movie, usually you’re sat on the couch, which was much more comfy than the seats at the cinema. But that’s precicely what I meant by until recently, because recently all the seats at my local cinema were upgraded to large reclining single sofa’s. If you read the spiel on their website, “Our HOYTS powered recliners allow you to kick back and soak up our program of new releases and classic movies in style. With the self-controlled seats you can lean back and enjoy the latest blockbusters, drama, arthouse, family and 3D movies today.” It becomes evident that Hoyts are trying harder to emulate a home-y environment, while keeping the novelty of the huge screen and powerful surround sound systems.

Image credit: http://www.weekendnotes.com/hoyts-sunnybank/
Image credit: http://www.weekendnotes.com/hoyts-sunnybank/

In my most recent outing to the Cinema I was pleasantly surprised with the upgrade to seats, mainly because I believe they were what was most lacking in the cinema itself in terms of keeping up with the novel experience. Of course they still conform to the capability constraints outlined by Hagerstrand’s “Not the Irrational Man” as it is still considered at least mildly rude to leave the cinema mid way, even if it is just to go to the bathroom.

  • Capability constraints. These are limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors such as the need to sleep or to eat, access to mobility tools and the availability of temporal and financial resources for conducing activities and making trips (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.38).
  • Coupling constraints. These are restrictions on the autonomous allocation of time due to the need to coordinate with institutional logistics (schedules or given locations) or interactions with other individuals (appointments or meetings) (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.38).
  • Authority constraints. These are limits on when activities can or cannot take place, or where they must or must not be located, imposed by external parties. For example, mandatory closing hours is a potential constraint on individual behaviour (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.39).

Actually it also conforms to his definition of Authority constrains as well as it is deemed absolutely innappropriate to do some things in a cinema. Quite a lot actually when you think about it, of course some things more than others, but some things are taken way too seriously if you ask me. Below is a list of just the headings of each category of rule Hoyts has laid out about the use of their cinema.

  • Bring Your Id
  • Keep Your Ticket With You
  • Keep Prams Or Strollers Out Of The Way
  • Filming
  • If you do not wish to be subject to the foregoing, please speak to a member of HOYTS staff.
  • Leave Electronic Equipment At Home
  • Hold Onto Your Personal Belongings
  • Dress Appropriately
  • Butt Out
  • Safety First
  • No Outside Food And Drinks

References:

http://www.hoyts.com.au/cinemas/locations/chatswood_westfield.aspx

https://givernywitheridge.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/hagerstrand-not-the-irrational-man-an-analysis-of-why-tumbleweeds-have-replaced-jaffas-rolling-down-cinema-aisles/

http://www.hoyts.com.au/common/footer/terms_and_conditions.aspx

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