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Richard Rushfield: “I say this as a lifelong member of the Cult of the Movie Theater, this is a good thing: Theaters have spent twenty-plus years in which their entire growth plan was to protect their monopoly—through threats, never through innovation or improvements. It’s not a coincidence that this period has seen film surrender its place at the center of culture, to cease being a necessity in consumer entertainment and become a luxury item, rarely experienced by most. If the theatrical experience is really going to be something bigger, something special—make it something bigger and special. If you’ve been to a mall multiplex in recent years, waited on interminable lines for stale $20 popcorn and then been forced to sit through car commercials, having to wait the better part of an hour to see the movie you paid to see, that doesn’t feel like a bigger, more special experience. A special, bigger-than-life communal experience can’t just be a mantra industry professionals chant to reassure themselves. It’s got to be something that actual moviegoers think and feel. And now and then tell each other, unprompted. The era when this experience could stumble by on monopoly protections officially ended Tuesday. Like it or not, people now have a choice on how they experience every movie that gets made. If you believe moviegoing is something special, show us what you got.”

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