Family of four, going to the movies: do the math. The cheapest is buying everyone a ticket for $6 at a matinee show and not having anything to eat there. That’s $24 for 2-3 hours of escape. If the movie’s good, there’s a chance you’ll drop $20 on it again when it’s released on home media, just so you’ll always have access to it. That’s $44 for the movie experience, now, and if you add in popcorn and a few drinks, you’ll easily hit $60.
Contrast that with a modern board game. Not Risk or Sorry or (shudder!) Monopoly, but something like Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride. For around the same cost as all the tickets plus either popcorn or the DVD, you can get the same 2-3 hours of escape. True, there’s more storage space required for the game, but otherwise, they’re pretty much equal in cost.
Therefore, the argument about where to put down one’s money for maximum value has to be answered in the quality of the movie or game being considered. Honestly, I’m not impressed with the level of work coming out of Hollywood. I think the last movie I saw in a theater – and liked without reservation – was Despicable Me 2. Most everything else leaves me cold when I see the promos. PG-13 usually means my ears will be a toilet for a few hours and R means that I’ll probably have to watch something I don’t want to see if I want to see the rest of the movie. The worst code for me, though, is 3D. I absolutely cannot watch 3D movies, full stop. I see “3D” and I imagine myself to be the lame little boy that couldn’t keep up with the crowd that chased after the Pied Piper of Hamelin. So that leaves me with less and less of a connection to the movies.
And then there’s the whole thing about lazy studios making decisions that CGI and other effects are proper substitutes for decent plot and characters. They’re not, and I see through that junk in an instant.
Given that my movie choices are pretty much now limited to well-thought-out G and PG ventures, my pickin’s is slim at the box office. That’s why my movie dollars are now going towards highly-rated board games. I get the same great enjoyment and common experience with my family as I do at the movies, and I can know what I’m getting into with what the box promises. If we don’t want to swear or have sex scenes in our entertainment, we won’t have them. And while the box office only offers me a film I want to see once in a great while, the game companies have made a wide range of family-friendly offerings for me to choose from.
I love movies, but they just don’t make ’em like they used to. Thankfully, the board game companies make ’em like they do right now. Game on!