Movies at home or in theater: Which is better?


Fact Box

  • According to Comscore, domestic movie box office sales in 2019 totaled $11.4 billion.
  • Netflix had 192.95 million paid subscribers worldwide as of the second quarter of 2020
  • A 2018 Statista survey revealed that out of 1,500 respondents, an overwhelming 54% preferred to view movies at home, while only 13% preferred movie theaters. 
  • According to the National Association of Theater Owners, in 2019, there were 41,172 operational movie theater screens in the US--with 559 of those classified as “drive-in.”

Samantha (Theater)

Whether it’s opening night, a weekend matinee, or an anniversary re-release, it’s always better to see a movie in theaters. It’s an experience in a class by itself; one that you can’t get just anywhere because seeing a film on the big screen will immerse you in the story in a way your TV and couch can’t match. 

Watching movies at home does offer something movie theaters don’t: distractions. Phones, laptops, people, or the fridge being just a few steps away contribute to the struggle of getting absorbed in the story. According to Screen Rant, a study from University College London says that watching movies is equal to light exercise. It improves your heart rate and enhances your brain’s health, along with your capacity to focus. The research goes on to say that viewing the movie in theaters is more effective for your heart and brain than watching at home. The minimal distractions of the theater make it easier for the audience to become more attached and invested with the film. 

Even if you watch a movie at home with your family or friends, it doesn’t beat the satisfaction of being in a packed theater with an audience where everyone feels the same emotion and has the same reaction. A collective gasp, jump or laugh, it doesn’t matter—the better the audience, the better the experience. 

The bottom line: the experience is worth it. Why? Because you simply can’t get a distraction-free, immersive, and dynamic experience at home

Rida (Home)

There are many benefits to watching movies at home. Coronavirus or not, most movie theaters are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses--literally, there are traces of human feces on theater seats. At least at home, you decide how clean your surroundings are.

Aside from cleanliness, home viewing means enjoying whatever food you like without a premium price tag. At theaters, there can be a 1,275% markup just for popcorn! Additionally, if you have any dietary restrictions, home viewing takes away the need to longingly watch people in a theater munching on snacks you can't have. 

Another huge perk of watching movies at home is the pleasure of selective company because, let's face it, there's always someone in a theater who's already seen the movie and keeps spoiling it. Random rowdy strangers taint the experience, so why not restrict the audience to people you choose (or just yourself)?

Having the ability to pause a movie and take a bathroom break instead of holding it in is yet another perk of watching movies at home. Sure, you can use a bathroom at a theater, but you risk missing something major from the film, as well as exposing yourself to possible hygiene concerns.

Lastly, your home is just more comfortable. You can lay on your bed and watch a movie with a loved one or sprawl out on the couch. The freedom to cry your heart out, scream in anticipation, or talk back to the screen without feeling judged by strangers makes the home-viewing movie experience so much better.

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