Cinema – is there a solution for “the downturn”?

As far as I know, this week’s task is going to the cinema as an experiment and blog about it whether it is a successful or fail cinema visit of your own. Unfortunately, I was bedridden by stomach-ache, hence, I choose to talk about my two last cinema going experience in Wollongong, which are the only two times going to the cinema since I got to Australia.

As the blog post this week needs to be in relation to Hagerstrand’s three constraints, after a while of reading, I found Witheridge in her post “Hagerstrand not the Irrational man” did summarise them clearly and easy to understand, quoted below:

  • Capability constraints. These are limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors such as the need to sleep or to eat, access to mobility tools and the availability of temporal and financial resources for conducing activities and making trips (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.38).

  • Coupling constraints. These are restrictions on the autonomous allocation of time due to the need to coordinate with institutional logistics (schedules or given locations) or interactions with other individuals (appointments or meetings) (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.38).

  • Authority constraints. These are limits on when activities can or cannot take place, or where they must or must not be located, imposed by external parties. For example, mandatory closing hours is a potential constraint on individual behaviour (Hagerstrand 1970, cited in Schonfelder & Azhausen 2010, p.39).

These constraints can be applied to my cinema going experience. The only two times going to the movies of mine were to see “Now you see me” and “The conjuring 2” at Greater Union Cine. Both of the times, capability constraint was eliminated as, firstly, I was invited by my friends as they were their birthdays, secondly, my place is very near free bus stop, it would not be a big deal travelling from place to place. The problem of finance and transportation was solved. The last time I went to the movies was pretty long ago so I can not recall all the details about it but there was a coupling constraint that my available time was pretty tricky, but luckily fit the schedule at Greater Union. Therefore, in my situation, the Hagestrand’s constraints, to some extent, explained the habit of cinema-going practice.

There has been a decrease in cinema attendance with 2014 was recorded as the lowest in the last 20 years.On the one hand, it can be explained by the emergence of digital content. Today, anything can be found on the Internet. On the other hand, the three Hagestrand’s constraints are the appropriate explanation. Video streaming service is rising as a much-more-convenient way of movies watching. Netflix, for example, the biggest streaming service provider in the world, takes approx. $15 a month from us but allows us to watch any movie we want at any time we want. Netflix also provides us a much wider range of movies, from blockbuster to niche products, like documentaries, which is hard to find at the movie theatres. Meanwhile, with $15, we are only able to watch a single movie at the cinema. Hence, Netflix is a much better choice.

Apart from these explanation, I would like to talk about my own experience. I love going to the cinema and I went to the cinema a lot back to the time when I was in Vietnam. Going to the cinema always gave me a special feeling, a whole different feeling comparing to home online watching, though I mostly saw 2D movies. However, big screen, professional sound system made the experience different, by which I mean more realistic, like we are in the movie, not watching the movie. I also love the softness of the chair, as it was designed specifically for cinema-going experience, which made us feel special, and important. Also, the space outside the theatres was well-designed to attract audiences. Therefore, though I could watch movie online for free (as piracy is very popular in Vietnam), I prefer going to the cinema, to fulfil the experience of seeing a movie.


I love the softness of those chairs 

My favourite cinema back home is CGV, the biggest cine system in Vietnam. There is a bunch of reason why I love it, but most significant, it is very well equipped and they screen not only blockbusters but also “niche products” like documentary or artistic movies. I have not had a chance to go to other cinemas, but the two times going to Greater Union Wollongong was a bit disappointed to me. Facility plays a major role in my decision of going to the movie theatre, so, if only they could improve their facility, as the lobby does not enough seat, and the seats inside the screening rooms are not really comfortable. Making customers feel they are treated special is a way that I believe will bring about income increase in the era of Netflix, because, cinema going is not just about seeing a movie, it is about enjoying the atmosphere and for some people, the professional way of movie-watching.

What do you think about the decrease in cinema-going practice? What is your solution for it?


  • Han, A 2015, “Movie Theater Attendance Hits 20-Year Low”, Slash Film, weblog, 2nd January.

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