My favourite cinema is the Picturehouse cinema where I live - it's in an old theatre, with red velvet curtains in the main screen, and 'Vintage Sundays' where we have watched Rear Window, Some Like It Hot and The Godfather. I love this cinema - I've been a member for years, not because I go to the cinema a lot, but because I want to support it and make sure it survives. It has sofas and tea, serves mulled wine at Christmas and I am gleefully working my way through their 'gourmet popcorn' selection. It's not the best cinema for big epic films, a main argument for visiting the cinema now we no longer have to wait a year for a film to come out in a home format. The screens are relatively small, and they don't always show the blockbuster films that benefit the most from a cinema experience.
Pay full attention to the magic behind the curtain
But I think the cinema experience is more than just surround sound and a big screen. There's something about the shared experience of watching a story unfold. The darkness that draws all our attention to the screen, and the presence of other people prevent any (or at least too much) chatter. It leads to a deeper immersion in the story, and a greater investment in the characters and their emotions. My husband and I decided to try and re-create this at home one time - lights dimmed, phones off, and a rule not to talk (we do like to try and guess the plot sometimes). It wasn't quite the same, and I'm not sure why. Maybe lounging in pjs is too relaxing, leading to less concentration on the film. Maybe it was something to do with the two cats who jumped on us repeatedly....
Our home set-up is lovely. We're lucky enough to have a decent sized TV and surround sound speakers. Watching films here is a joy. But I do still love the cinema experience.