For years, as the MPAA complained about the so-called "threat" of the internet, we've tried to point out that the movie business shouldn't have much to worry about, if they stopped thinking that movies were all about the content. The truth is that movies have always been about the social experience of "going out" to the movies and having a good time. Just as people still go out to eat at restaurants even though they can eat for much less at home, people will always go out to the movies if the experience is enjoyable. Unfortunately, the studios and the theater owners (for the most part) still don't get this and seem to have gone out of their way to make the experience considerably worse over time. A new study, though, is highlighting the importance of the social experience in determining how a movie is received. Pointed out by Slashdot, the study found that the presence of other people around enhances the movie-watching experience. It turns out that, with people around, the overall experience is shared and spread across the crowd, leading to greater enjoyment. Hopefully, it's research like this that will lead the studios and theater owners to stop worrying about things like piracy or even simultaneous DVD releases and realize that if they build a better experience people will always want to go out to the movies.
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