Cinemas in the Netflix age

I am sure everyone knows about Netflix, the company that has made a roaring business out of mailing movie DVDs on a subscription basis. For most Americans who do not have a 70,000 title movie rental store nearby (most of us), it is amazing to find just about any movie one would like to see. But getting the DVD in your hand is just the first part of the solution. The movie makers don't imagine viewers watching their movies on a 30-inch screen, with bright lights or the sun washing out some of the more subtle colors, finger ready on the Fast-Forward or Pause to accommodate the phone, the neighbors, the kids and the door-to-door solicitors.

I remember watching Dances with Wolves at a cinema. I could not only appreciate the wide expanses of the frontier lands, I could also feel the weather, the snow, the winds and the sunsets that can create new philosophers. When I saw Omar Mukhtar: Lion of the Desert at the cinema, the sand and dust choked me and the sun burnt my face. But then again, they are action movies. But what floored me was when I saw Casablanca on the big screen (at Stanford Theatre) after seeing it on the small screen. There is hardly any action, no sweeping vistas, heck there isn't any color either! But, it was amazing.

I think I know why. In a movie theater, you are immersed in the experience. You have to pay attention. No remote to replay a scene, no phones to distract you, no expectations of interruptions, just you and your fellow moviegoers. This immersion is what is missing from the home theater experience.

So, here is an idea. Any entrepreneurs out there who feel like implementing it are more than welcome to it. Heck, you don't even need to credit me for it. I give it to the public domain. Moviegoing by subscription. Just like you make a list of movies to see in the request queue at Netflix and its competing services, you make a list and when there is enough interest, the movie theater gets hold of the movie and shows it. A perfect marriage of the old world and the new. Just imagine, watching Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen. Actually, if you start such a service, my first vote would be for Lawrence. I have seen it on the small screen a few times. I just want to see it in its full splendor.