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In the earlier days of movie-going, audiences were accustomed to sitting in lavish “movie palaces,” complete with velvet plush chairs and an in-house organist. In the late 1970s, the multiplex concept came into being. Theater owners realized they could reap more profit from a single building showing several movies at one time than from one building showing one movie. Movies were not released as often as in previous decades either, so showing several different movies kept audiences from becoming bored.
The first multiplexes showed perhaps four movies at once, and were considered quite innovative. Then, the six, eight and ten-theater businesses became more common. The single-movie theaters were often forced to close, or reinvent themselves as performing arts centers or classic/independent movie houses. This did have the added benefit of making independent movies more widely available, but was still hard on the proprietors, since their profit margins are smaller.
As time went on, this type of theater was often considered a major anchor at large strip malls with “big box” stores. Large chain restaurants are also often recruited for these kinds of shopping centers, along with other retailers, creating a one-stop shopping experience.
The multiplex has also moved far beyond the classic popcorn and candy concessions. Some theaters now serve full meals and have open bars in VIP lounges. They have installed stadium seating so every customer has an unobstructed view of the screen. The new theaters are also likely to have a state-of-the-art surround sound system, digital projection, and a host of other technological goodies designed to enhance the viewing experience. Customers can often buy their tickets at an outside kiosk, using credit or debit cards, without ever having to stand in line. Online ticket sales are even available, so customers can either print out their tickets for a particular show time, or pick them up at the counter or kiosk. The idea has blossomed into the megaplex as well, which may involved theaters with over 20 screens in one building.
While the multiple screen idea has essentially taken over modern movie-going, the drawback is that most of these theaters are part of large corporations that have contracts with the major studios to run certain films. Independent films are not usually on the marquee. Sometimes, an independent film with some “A” list stars will generate enough attention to be picked up by one of the major distributors, or the film will win a few awards, which will also guarantee wider distribution, but these are rare cases.
The multiplex is a good place to see a popular movie on the big screen. They make the most of technological advances in filmmaking and film projection and usually allow the audience to see the films under the ideal circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a multiplex in the context of entertainment?
A multiplex is a modern movie theater complex with multiple screens within a single facility. It revolutionized the cinema industry by allowing a variety of films to be shown simultaneously, catering to diverse audiences. Multiplexes often feature state-of-the-art sound systems, comfortable seating, and concessions, enhancing the movie-going experience. They became popular in the late 20th century, contributing to the decline of single-screen theaters.
How does a multiplex differ from a traditional single-screen theater?
Unlike traditional single-screen theaters, which can only show one film at a time, multiplexes have several screens, often ranging from three to over twenty, allowing them to offer multiple films and showtimes. This flexibility means a wider selection of movies, including blockbusters and independent films, can be screened concurrently. Multiplexes also tend to offer more amenities, such as advanced projection technology and premium seating options.
What are the benefits of visiting a multiplex for moviegoers?
Visiting a multiplex offers moviegoers the convenience of selecting from a broad range of films and viewing times. With more screens, there's a higher chance of securing tickets for popular new releases. Multiplexes often provide a more immersive viewing experience with their cutting-edge audiovisual technology. Additionally, they frequently house arcades, restaurants, and lounges, making them entertainment hubs beyond just watching films.
How have multiplexes impacted the film industry?
Multiplexes have significantly impacted the film industry by changing the distribution and exhibition of movies. They've enabled studios to release films on more screens, leading to larger opening weekends and overall box office returns. According to the Motion Picture Association's THEME Report, multiplexes have contributed to the global box office reaching $42.5 billion in 2019. They've also influenced the types of films produced, with a focus on big-budget movies that benefit from the multiplex setting.
Are multiplexes environmentally friendly?
The environmental impact of multiplexes varies, but there is a growing trend towards sustainability in their design and operation. Some multiplexes incorporate energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting and solar panels, and sustainable building materials. They may also implement recycling programs for waste generated from concessions. However, the overall eco-friendliness depends on the specific practices of each multiplex and their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.