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Jul 5, 2024

Everything, Not Just Movie Theaters, Must Become a Family Destination!

One exception may be family gatherings…

By Ed Goldman

The industry push to make moviegoing a family destination has theater owners yielding some of their exterior real estate to bocci and pickleball courts, while giving you the indoor option of gaming arcades and God-knows-what-else. I’m told if you purchase tickets (online and in advance) you can even watch a movie. 

Theater owners are a bit desperate because they’re losing market share to in-home mini-auditoria, according to CNBC as well as the testimony of your own senses. But the former, which may be more reliable, reports that in the past five years, “the number of total [movie theater] screens in the U.S. have decreased by around 3,000 to just under 40,000.”

Edgy Cartoon


As you know, the concept of a “home theater” was to try to duplicate the movie-house experience. Now, the reverse is occurring. The movie-house is now providing some of the comforts you enjoy in your household media room: lush recliners with built-in cup-holders and popup snack trays, a nearby bar—in fact, everything but a pause button to accommodate potty breaks. Forgive me if I don’t want to know how the manufacturers of theater seats intend to deal with that dilemma.

In any event, is this the future of other activities whose revenues stalled during the COVID Era and never quite reignited? Why should the ballet, opera, symphony and art galleries offer only dance, music and visual works? 

Here’s an excerpt of my prospectus, a modest proposal I’m calling “Designing for Designated Destinations, Our Destiny.” Its purpose is to unite almost everything under one roof and get me lucrative speaking engagements at think tanks, TED Talks and Soroptimist clubs:

Welcome to NEVER-RESTWORLD, a hoped-for intergalactic chain of entertainment, enrichment and eclectic endeavors all under one El Niño-resistant, quake-ready, fire-proof roof!

In this city-unto-itself you can do unto yourself what others only dream of doing unto you and unto other consenting adults. Each of our 2.5-million-square foot buildings contains everything from cradle to grave (literally: an obstetrics hospital and cemetery are within howling and mourning distance of each other)!

For example, in our humbly designed WHO LOVES SECTS?, practitioners of every known religion on the planet will discover blocks and blocks of churches, synagogues, mosques, pagodas and partnership retreats. We’ve even re-created seven of the holy cities of Sapta Puri: Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika, Dvaravati as well as the community of Fairfax, California, home of Cantor’s Delicatessen (yes, the eatery has opened a grab-and-go version just for us—well, just for you)!

In PLAYGROUNDS FOR DIVORCE, parents estranged from their children or one another can watch “Annie,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “Smurfs in Ethiopia: An After-Dinner Special” together on a TV screen whose dimensions would dwarf the Taj Mahal’s west side.

They can also test each other’s agility playing on our ultra-safe, politically correct monkey bars. Participants are temporarily glued to the equipment so they can’t possibly plummet to the 28 needless stacked mattresses below—yes, we’re abundance-of-caution people here! And because the term “monkey bars” might offend someone, especially a monkey with too much time on his hands, if that’s what you call them, we’ve also rebranded the apparatus as the Simian Metal Construct. Think of how much wholesome fun you and your alienated loved ones can have, particularly when you help each other wash off the body glue! Is that reconciliation we smell in the air?

Or is it the popcorn from our megalithic arts quadrant, ERSATZ ENTERTAINMENT! This area has it all: 

– Art galleries will present an art show opening every night—and, keeping it authentic, serve the same warm white Costco wine in the same Dollar Store plastic glasses. 

– A black-box theatre will offer such edgy fare as experimental poetry (rhymeless, timeless and largely senseless!), an alt-pop kazoo concert featuring recently paroled parking-ticket offenders, and gender-neutral re-imaginings of iconic plays (“Twelve Angry Thems” and “A Cis For All Seasons” have been booked)!

– Classical music:  the Minimalist Symphony Orchestra (whose string section indeed consists of one string) will accompany the legendary Guy-With-a-Slight-Limp Ballet Company in a new production that melds American and European culture, “Swanee Lake.” (Note: We will be handing out small boxes of Kleenex to those who declare in advance they’re easily moved.) 

For more information on NEVER-RESTWORLD—or to receive a full copy of the prospectus “Designing for Designated Destinations, Our Destiny”—please visit our website, Comingsoononcewegetfunding dot net. In the meantime, like us on Facebook, love us on Instagram and ask for our hand in marriage at X, the former Twitter.

Don’t forget! A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!


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Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).