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A new generation of film buffs is turning away from cinema for good, according to the owners of Century Cinema in Northwood, California.
In the last year, the cinema has seen its share of decline, with more than 90% of the current stock of films pulled from the screens.
The owners say they’re seeing a new wave of moviegoers who are looking for something different and fresh.
“We’ve had a lot of new moviegoers coming in, and we’re seeing people coming in from all over the world,” said owner and former film school dean and Cinefamily founder Chris Smith.
“I think it’s a generational shift in the culture, and it’s happening in a way that I don’t think we ever anticipated.”
As more people turn to social media, social distancing and social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook to discover new movies, Century is trying to make sure they don’t miss out.
“It’s very important that you have a good moviegoing experience and a good time at the same time,” said Smith.
“You need a good audience.
That’s what we’ve done.”
While the new wave is not the first time Century has seen a decrease in its moviegoing numbers, Smith says they have seen the biggest declines in the last two years.
“I think we’ve had maybe one of the biggest drop-offs we’ve seen in our history,” said the owner.
“And I think it was more a reflection of the way people are consuming and consuming films online.”
In fact, Century Cinema has seen nearly half of the films that were removed from the theaters from their social media accounts in the past year.
The biggest change has been the dramatic decrease in the number of movies they have pulled from their screens.
In fact in 2017, the Cinema saw almost all of their inventory pulled from social media.
This year, however, Smith said they have been pulling about a quarter of their movies off the screens and it has been a major drop.
“The number of films that are being pulled is up about 10% compared to 2016,” said Chris Smith, Century’s founder and chief executive.
“The total number of removed films that we pulled from our screens is down from roughly 50% in 2016 to about 25% in 2017.”
And while the decline is significant, it is still a relatively small number compared to the massive drop in moviegoing that has been happening in the industry.
Cinemas like Century are hoping that the trend of social distanced, video-sharing and sharing of news and entertainment will continue to reverse.
“There are many of us who are trying to keep the movies going,” said Mr. Smith.
“[We are] not going to get the same kind of social interaction and the same type of content that we had in the 1980s and 90s.”