Is Netflix hurting traditional movie theaters?

Local movie theaters strike back against Netflix.

PHOENIX - You've heard the phrase "Netflix and chill." The movie theater industry may rather call it "Netflix and kill," because streaming services have been keeping movie buffs on the couch.

You may have notices that some Phoenix-area theaters are evolving to compete.

Netflix has 83 million subscribers, and it’s only one of the handful of the on-demand streaming services available.

Is that hurting traditional movie theaters?

 "[People have] great surround sound systems at home, plus the ability to access Netflix … So how are we going to combat that?" said Kelly Aubey, the owner of FilmBar Phoenix. “The answer is 'We're going to do the same thing and make them pay $15 for it.' That logic doesn't make sense."

Officials from Harkins Theatres said Netflix isn't affecting their business negatively.

Regardless of the positive or negative effects, there is an apparent change.

Film Bar is on Second and McKinley streets in downtown Phoenix. The venue is one of a handful in the Valley that may be ahead of the curve, offering unique experiences to get people to put down the remote, like offering a full bar, bringing in DJs or live bands and featuring local art work.

"Sometimes people even stick around after and talk about what they saw,” said Aubey. “We're building community here. I think that's really the difference."

There are also other options: You could go to Arizona's only remaining drive-in theater, West Wind Glendale 9. It’s only $7.50 per person for two movies.

There's also Sonora Cinema, which has movies either in Spanish or subtitled in Spanish.

Pollack Tempe Cinemas only charges $3 for when you’re in between paydays.

Or you can go the upscale route with fancy cocktails, and gourmet food with iPic Theaters in Scottsdale.

Aubey says movie buffs deserve much more than they typically with streaming services and in traditional theaters, but he's also optimistic that everyone can make it through the changing movie economy.

"I think that the two can live in harmony, and I think that they are,” he said.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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