For The Love of Cinemas

Original Source Unknown-
Original Source Unknown-

I love going to the cinemas, don’t get me wrong. There are just some movies that need to be seen on the big screen like The Lord of the Rings or new advanced CGI films like Jurassic World. Now that I’m older, it seems as though I don’t go to the movies as much anymore. I could put this down to not having to be entertained during my school holidays any longer or that I can easily get access to movies online or through Foxtel. The last movie I saw at the cinemas was Paper Towns and before that, I can’t even remember.

Mum and I had been planning for a while to go and see Amy Shumer’s new film Trainwreck but it just never happened. Our plan was to originally see it on a Tuesday when tickets are only $13 but other things kept getting in the way. Relating all the factors that kept us from seeing the film to Torsten Hagerstrand’s Time Geography constraints, it is clear to see that no matter what we do everything has a constraint and we are really not as free to do as we wish. Hagerstands theory argued, using his space-time path model to demonstrate, that human spatial activity is often governed by limitations and not independent decisions (Corbett, 2001). Hagerstrand defined three categories of constraints (taken from Corbett, 2001):

“Capability: refers to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors. Thus, for example, a person cannot be in two places at one time. A person also cannot travel instantaneously from one location to another, which means that a certain trade off must be made between space and time. Those with access to cars and bullet trains have a spatial-temporal advantage over those who are limited to their feet or bicycles for transportation. 

Coupling: refers to the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people. This coincidence of space-time paths is described as “bundled” paths in a station’s tube. In other words, your space-time path must temporarily link up with those of certain other people to accomplish a particular task. This could mean anything from visiting the supermarket to going to work for the day.

Authority: is an area (or “domain”) that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups. For example, a person’s space-time path is normally not permitted to enter a sensitive military base or private club”.

One of the reasons mum and I couldn’t go to the cinemas was because of a capability constraint. Mum had to take my pop to the hospital and North Sydney. I texted mum on the day asking if she wanted to go but she was just too tired from the day and helping my pop. Authority constraints also affected us. Because we wanted to go on a Tuesday, as the ticket prices are cheaper, this limited the days in which we could go. Not only is price an issue in the cinema experience, but is also a constraint in everyday life e.g. buying clothes or owning a car. This is due to the wages which institutions ultimately set limits to, like Hagerstrand explained.

As mentioned before, I feel like nowadays I rarely go to the movies and I wonder if other people feel the same. According to Val Morgan and Co of Screen Australia (2015) in 2014 68% of Australians visited the cinemas in the last 12 months with an average of each person seeing 6.8 movies in the year. These statistics were at an all time high in 1996 with 72% of Australians going to the cinemas in 12 months with an average of 11.3 movies being viewed. Screen Australian (2015) also conducted research on which age brackets were most likely to attend the cinemas. 14-24 year olds were recorded with the highest number of visits but that percentage is down 7.5% from 1974 when the studies were first conducted. It did show though that the 50+ age group were the only group to have an increase in cinema attendance, from 42.1% in 1974 to 57.9% in 2014. Possibly because when these people were in their 30’s their attendance was high and as they’ve aged, they still go to the cinemas unlike those 50+ ages that were studied from the beginning in 1974 may not have grown up going to the movies.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.01.32 pm
Val Morgan and Co, Screen Australia 2015,

After looking at these figures, I’m really interested in assessing the ages around me next time I’m at the movies. I guess though there can be some factors that will affect which ages I would see for instance most 14 year old aren’t going to watch a replay of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the cinemas just like I’m sure 70 year old grandparents are going to watch Bring It On All or Nothing.


Corbett, J 2001, ‘Torsten Hagerstrand: Time Geography’, Center for spacially Intergrated Social Science, viewed 30th August 15,

Screen Australia 2015, Audiovisual Markets: Audiences, viewed 30th August 15,

Screen Australia 2015, Audiovisual Markets: Audiences, viewed 30th August 15,

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