What’s a college town without a movie theater?

Are movie theaters becoming a thing of the past?

As a freshman on campus, I have noticed that Big Rapids is not the same as Grand Rapids. 

I imagined that a college town would have lots of things for students to do off-campus, but instead I find myself taking trips to Meijer with my friends for fun.

It wasn’t until I took a trip downtown in late September that this started to dawn on me. If you take a trip off-campus, you can find the downtown area of Big Rapids. There I found the remains of the Big Rapids AMC. I had to turn and ask a friend what an AMC was, since I wasn’t familiar. This may come as a surprise, but by the time I was old enough to start going to theaters, all the AMCs in my area, as well as many other movie theaters, had shut down.

I think the lack of a movie theater in a college town is odd. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more common. With more streaming services popping up in the last few years, movie theaters have lost business. The same thing has happened with movie rental places like Family Video.

According to NPR, throughout the pandemic, many people have stopped going to theaters, causing ticket sales to decrease by 80% in just the last few years. As college students, we are encouraged to get out and socialize, and movie theaters are a great place to go for a group activity.

AMC Big Rapids closed on March 16, 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic never to reopen again. Photo by: Noah Kurkjian | Editor in Chief

Sure, I could just watch a movie on one of those streaming services in my dorm room, but it’s not the same. You can only fit so many friends into a dorm room, especially when you have a double room, before it starts getting crowded. Plus, what about the popcorn and other snacks? Not everyone has the luxury of a microwave in their dorm room, and the dorm hall microwaves are usually gross from whatever the person who used it last made.

The AMC has been closed down since the pandemic and has remained empty for the past two years. That is, until it was purchased by a marijuana growing and processing company called Michigan Pipe Dreams, LLC. It is unfortunate that, while we have multiple marijuana stores in business, we don’t have a movie theatre. How long will it be until movie theaters are a thing of the past?

During these winter months, I think it’s really important that Ferris students can go out and enjoy a movie on a Friday night instead of going to a party. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but it would be nice to leave my dorm room for a few hours and go to the cinema.

I find myself way too often held up in my dorm room, especially with the cold weather, and eventually keeping to myself on the weekends catches up to me. Even just being in a room filled with people watching the same movie makes me feel a little less lonely.