04 December 2007

Theaters = No

I don't go to movie theaters much anymore. Can you blame me?

- Ten bucks for a single viewing, more if you purchase in advance via the web to skip the lines
- 400% mark up on all food and drink
- Commercials before the trailers
- Not guaranteed an optimal seat
- Put up with noise from other movie-goers
- No control over movie settings (volume, language track, pausing, etc)
- No control over room atmosphere

With the prices of home theater technology these days, you can easily have a 40" LCD @ 720p with 5.1 surround for $1000. For that price you get to watch movies your way and in the comfort of your own home.

Let's do some math!

That $1000 setup is multi-purpose. It serves as your setup for movies, TV, and gaming. That's three different functions, so let's assign a value of $333 to the cost of your movie watching. We need some movies to watch, too, so let's tack on $15 a month for Netflix's Two-At-A-Time plan. You can easily see 8 movies a month on this plan. Food and drink? Let's assume bag of popcorn, candy snack, and soda per movie. Getting this at the store runs you $2 at most per movie.

Alright, let's calculate our movie watching costs for a year.

$333 + 12 x $15 + 12 x 8 x $2 = $705

How does this compare to theater costs?

Let's assume the same eight movies per month, popcorn and soda per movie for $3.50 + $2.50, and one gallon of gas for travel @ $3.00. Total?

8 x 12 x ( $10 + $3.50 + $2.50 + $3 ) = $1824

Wow. That's a lot of cash going to the theaters. You can spend less on a home theater AND have the better experience. How about a few more comparisons to make you feel worse about your spending habits? Coming right up!

Add in the full cost of your home theater setup = $1372, still less than $1824 in the theaters
Half as many trips to the theater = $912, still more than your home theater

Two years of home theater use (@ full setup cost) = $1744
Two years of theater trips = $3648

Basically, you could spend $1000 on new home theater equipment every other year and STILL save money compared to going to the theater. And believe me, I plan on it.


  1. And the more people in your family, the better the home theater becomes! Imagine those theater ticket and food costs multiplied by a family of 5!

  2. I agree 1millionpercent. X 5. But for whatever reason my girlfriend STILL prefers the theater, despite the 42" LCD + 7.1 DTS/DD surround.

    *shakes head*