Netflix, Redbox give theaters, rentals a run for their money

Advancements in technology and the increasing accessibility of entertainment sources could be pairing up to put some businesses into an early grave.

Evolution happens every day, especially in technology, but now it is having an even greater impact on the entertainment world. Within the past of couple years, there has been a drop in business in cinemas and video rental stores.

Celebration! Cinema, 4935 E. Pickard St., and video rental store Family Video, 317 North Mission St., are two venues that have seen their business decline.

Celebration! Cinema Operations Manager Greg Howell has seen business decline on the weekdays but remains optimistic about the weekends.

“I have worked here for 11 years, and weekends are always bound to be busier," Howell said. "I would say that attendance has declined because of better home theaters, Blu-ray systems, Netflix and Redbox, but we give a night-out experience with a quality movie. This past weekend, for example, we had a bigger crowd of over 1,000 people for the new movie 'Zero Dark Thirty,' which is up for some Golden Globes and Oscars.”

Even with decreased ticket sales on weekdays, the movie theater has been able to withstand the decline in business, thanks to the weekends, college-town location and, particularly, new movie premiers. Remus resident and cinema employee Dana Flachs has detected these benefits.

“We are always busy Friday through Sunday, mainly because new movies open Fridays, which helps out,” Flachs said. “It really depends on the movie; if people want to see a movie bad enough, then they always come here. The 'Twilights', 'Avengers', 'Harry Potter' series, etc. are a few big premiering movies that draw in most of the business.”

Despite the threats Redbox and Netflix are to traditional rental stores, Family Video has not had to make any drastic changes to their business model, Store Manager Isha Walter said.

“We have continued to stay busy, mainly because we have better deals than Redbox and Netflix," Walter said. "We have always had our usual specials. New members get coupons, and we have specialized discounts for students. Plus, we have a bigger selection, new releases all the time, and a majority of our movies are five-day rentals. People always come back to us, even after using Redbox.”

According to, Redbox grossed 1.2 million DVD purchases per day in 2012, while Netflix subscriptions climbed to 23 million. Menominee freshman Kari Karkkainen said Netflix can be very convenient for college students.

“We have a Netflix account hooked up to our television in our dorm. It is easier for my roommates and I to watch movies and TV series,” Karkkainen said. “Plus, it is better than cable.”


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