(This post is 21 hours late according to my "Every 4 days" Time-line! Usedcarsalesman will adopt a "news-type" schedule so that he will always have something ready every 4 days regardless of outside intrusions.)
Usedcarsalesman read a post the other day made by Cory Doctorow (a post which was apparently pulled from a blog called MarginalRevolution.com) in BoingBoing.net called "What's Killing Hollywood? (And, Its Not Piracy!)"
Usedcarsalesman believes it was posted there on July 13, 2005. In the post were listed a lot of reasons for the on-going "murder" of Hollywood's theatrical releases: high-quality TV programming making people avoid theaters, High Definition plasma-screened televisions becoming more affordable and keeping people at home, movie-executives who are understandably risk averse and box office expectations that are higher than in the past (so the variety of theatrical releases is suffering).
The BoingBoing post suggested to Usedcarsalesman that, pretty soon, when the viewing public seeks visual entertainment we are all going to avoid movie theaters and basically just stay home and turn on the HD plasma screen. Well, it "suggested" this to him, yes, but "convinced" him, no.
Why? Let's face the following facts: going out to a movie theater has the "going out" and "social" elements going for it. "Let's go out to the movies," "let's go see the latest Speilberg flick," "it's going to be a full house," are all thoughts that most people have entertained. Often people -- Usedcarsalesman, too -- settle on going to a movie because it's a relatively easy co-ed social event to organize and because there's little socially to do with your friends in the evenings (besides getting bombed at a party, that is :).
Sure, movies aren't the only thing you go out and do that have a social element. You also have live-theater and music, religious services, professional sporting events, sports-participation, charity participation, conventions (at least a ton in So. Cal.), and amusement/theme parks, too. But going to a movie theater is admittedly still one of the few economical and entertaining things that you can do in a large room with other individuals.
Maybe movie theaters and attendees also offer -- at least to "Joes" like Usedcarsalesman -- a hard to quantify value such as an answer to how "strangers" will respond to visual stimuli. Usedcarsalesman guesses you could say he gains inadvertant "political insight" from within movie theaters. And, movie theaters offer other "political" benefits, too, not just for Usedcarsalesman. What viewer isn't subconsciously heartened by the warmth of reacting to entertainment in the same manner as people they do not know?
Usedcarsalesman thinks that movie theater chains and single theater operations, rather than closing up shop, may build on the inherent "social" aspect of movie theaters by installing new Digital Projectors. To start, Digital projectors may enable theater operators to download a new feature straight from the film distributor, greatly streamlining theater operations, eliminating film, film storage, film maintenance, and shipping costs/delays. But the largely unheralded, potential "social" benefit of digital projectors is that they will make it economical for theater operators to provide a more diverse array of entertainment to a paying public.
With mostly digital projectors in theaters, you may see niche market films which formerly would have been prohibitively expensive to distribute as a film print, live network-video-game championships (games are often more profitable than Hollywood films at this point and need a stadium type venue to allow a mass audience to cheer the top players), and even the next generation of 3-D films that are viewable without special glasses (Trust Usedcarsalesman, far more enjoyable in a big theater than on a relatively puny 70 inch plasma HDTV).
Frankly, Usedcarsalesman thinks that the new digital projectors may enable theater operators to hedge the financial risk of showing standard Hollywood fare by drawing audiences with the aforementioned variety of novel entertainment alternatives. They might save and strengthen traditional movie theater enterprises which may lead to a new post in BoingBoing.net titled, "What's Saving Movie Theaters?"