Mass Media and Society Paper


Until Covid-19, Americans spent many, many leisure hours going to the movies. More than 70 percent of the U.S./Canada population went to the cinema at least once in 2016. That’s 246 million people, a two percent increase from 2015. A June 2019 survey showed that 14 percent of U.S. adults went to a movie one or more times per month, but 46 percent said they went to a movie once a year or less.

Now, we rely on streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. to watch first-run movies (think of “The Old Guard” on Netflix, which generated 78 million viewers in the first four weeks of release). We watch on tablets, laptops, smart phones, and TVs. In 2021, we can watch movies on the newest Samsung QLED 8K with 33 million pixels and an 8K quantum processor (price = $4499 for 82”)

Will we ever go back to the cinema, post Covid-19?

Movie goers may reminisce about the special technologies in cinemas (Dolby surround sound with speakers located at points behind the screen, horizontal-curve screens, 4DX and MX4D – totally immersive, IMAX screens.) They may go to the cinema to enjoy the company of others, to escape from their physical surroundings, or to take a date to a darkened room and enjoy hot buttered popcorn. Some movie goers/purists believe you can only experience a movie in a movie theater. The Motion Picture Association is hoping we’ll return.

Who knows, for example, what blockbuster director James Cameron has invented for Avatar 2, scheduled for release in December 2022? You won’t fully experience these new techniques watching your TV.

For this paper, trace the evolution of cinema technologies that kept movie goers going to the movies, and may still entice us back. Note the psychology of the research used to develop these technologies. Our textbook refers to them. Also, do NOT use first-person reference in this paper – so don’t write “When I go to the movies, I think….” You will lose points.

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