Brain monitoring experiment proves with science that movies are better in the cinema

·Contributor
·3-min read
The experiment monitored the brain activity of viewers watching a film on the big screen and on a television (ODEON)
The experiment monitored the brain activity of viewers watching a film on the big screen and on a television (ODEON)

The cinema is officially the best possible place to watch a movie – according to science.

A new experiment carried out by ODEON to mark the reopening of England's cinemas rigged movie fans up with neurotechnology headsets to monitor bio-signals in the brain of participants.

Read more: #LoveCinema campaign aims to encourage love of big screen

Those who took part were shown an action-packed clip from 2017 blockbuster Fast & Furious 8, first while sat on a sofa in front of a TV and then watched the same sequence in a cinema.

Yahoo Entertainment UK was among those invited to take part in the trial, which proved that the excitement levels of cinema viewers rose more than a quarter when watching a movie on the big screen.

Watching a film on the big screen caused far more excitement than watching it on a TV. (ODEON)
Watching a film on the big screen caused far more excitement than watching it on a TV. (ODEON)

The research also revealed that viewers smile twice as much when watching a film in a multiplex and pleasure levels increased by a fifth when compared to readings taken in a neutral state, without any movie playing.

Professor Brendan Walker, lead scientist on the experiment, said: “The results of our experiment clearly show the average person will experience a far deeper emotional response when watching a film in the cinema, compared to watching at home. 

"Results show the immersive, no distractions environment of the cinema is the perfect place to enjoy your favourite films."

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Alongside the experiment, ODEON also carried out research on 2,000 UK adults to ask about their viewing habits.

Almost three quarters of those surveyed (74%) admitted that they struggle to remember key details about a film, including the plot and names of the characters, when they watch at home.

Participants in the experiment watched the self-driving car action scene from 2017 blockbuster 'Fast & Furious 8'. (Universal)
Participants in the experiment watched the self-driving car action scene from 2017 blockbuster Fast & Furious 8. (Universal)

Unsurprisingly, mobile phones were listed as the biggest distraction for home viewers, with 52% of us confessing to "dual screening" while watching a film on the sofa.

Other top distractions included pausing so people can use the toilet, the doorbell ringing and people in the room having a conversation.

Read more: Analysis warns cinema spending might not return to normal until 2023

Four in 10 people even said they were so distracted that they had to Google the ending of a movie after it finished in order to make sense of it.

And it's not just about the distractions, with 83% of those surveyed saying that a trip to the cinema is better because of the whole experience, including popcorn and other snacks.

The study took place to mark the return of cinemas after a long COVID-induced shutdown. (ODEON)
The study took place to mark the return of cinemas after a long COVID-induced shutdown. (ODEON)

Multiplexes in England were given permission to open from 17 May as part of the government's coronavirus roadmap, with movies like Peter Rabbit 2 and Cruella already attracting audiences.

The former has already earned £7.5m after two weekends in release, with James Corden's take on the Beatrix Potter character still delighting cinemagoers.

It was horror movie The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It that topped last weekend's box office, securing a debut haul of £2.7m.

Read more: No Time to Die will not come to streaming early despite Amazon deal

Chris Bates, commercial director at ODEON UK & Ireland, said: “There’s seeing films and there’s experiencing films, and the results of this experiment clearly prove that if you want to really experience a film there is no substitute for watching it on the big screen at the cinema."

The next major cinema release will be horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II, followed by actioner Nobody and musical In the Heights.

Watch: Cinema chains pleased by success of Peter Rabbit 2 as doors open

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