Should cinema be our HT reference?

Hi, recently I have a wierd dislike to the cinema's surround sound. First, I always feel that the sound level isn't loud enough. Secondly, I always feel like the movie was recorded with only 3 channels: front, left and right. I hardly hear anything from the rear. Normally I sit 7 to 8 rows from the back. When I watched X2, I sat in the middle of the theater and felt the same. So far, I have not 'heard' a movie that takes my breath away in a movie theater.

Here is my question, should we consider the surround sound in movie theater to be our point of reference for home theater surround sound? If so, I am a bit dissapointed with the sound that I have heard so far in the cinema. Does anyone else feel the same way too?
I doubt there is anyone connected with any large movie theater company who really cares about sound quality. As long as sound comes out of the speakers, they are happy. Also most movie goers don't know what is possible or care for that matter.

If you've ever been to a movie and it looks dull on screen, it might because your local theater owner is turning down the brightness of the projector, thinking that it will make the very expensive light bulb last longer. The makers of the projector and the bulb have tested this theory, and it does not increase the life of the bulb one single bit. But many theaters still do it anyway. All you get is a dull looking movie.
--No;actually the quite simple. The # of seats dictates a homogenized version of what we have at home. Otherwise everybody seated on the extreme sides would only hear from their nearest speaker,most of the time.
Thanks. I thought I am the only one who feels this way. I always wait for the cinema to 'give it to me', but the sound just never poop out.

On your point about the picture, I always wonder about that too. The CRT projector used in the cinema supposed to have been calibrated by professionals using tools (and their eyes) to 6500K. Again, maybe it is just me, but the color to me is still not very convincing. To me, the easiest test is the color of the blue sky that we see everyday (besides red which is hardest). In a few cases, the sky's color has a touch of yellow to it which gives that 'washed-out'/old color. Even without this problem, the picture just doesn't have the needed contrast. And I always questioned whether that's the characteristic of a CRT projector with lower lumen rating or the big size of the projected picture that might have caused it. The only time that I was 'wow-ed' by a huge projected picture was my trip to Disney World last year. Three CRT projectors were used to display a Disney animation and may I say, 'WOW!!'. The picture was utterly satisfying. It is like watching a very-very good huge tube CRT TV. One can argue that animation is easy for any projector, but I have just not seen the same quality in movie theater even with animation. The difference is really night and day (IMO), and I see the dullness that you have refered to.

Well.. I am way off topic now.
Avguygeorge, that does makes sense. Now I am really curious as to how they accomplish the homogenized sound. This just sounds like a very good technique to try. If applied correctly, it may produce a very good balanced sound effect. Now I have to dig on the web for this info, wonder if they have to disperse the sound off-axis to do this. Thanks!
There is no excuse for a dull looking movie. I've seen the restored 70mm print of Lawrence of Arabia projected on a large screen. It looks great!! If they could make it that sharp and colorful in the 1950's, then they should be able to really dazzle us now..
Out of curiosity, where is everyone located?
The reason I ask is that I'm in Los Angeles and I must say that the sound quality at some of the top theaters in town is outstanding. I'm wondering if this has more to do with the fact that I'm essentially in the movie capital. Don't get me wrong... for the most part, this tends to preclude any sort of multi-plex, though some venues will have 'decent' (not outstanding) sound in their main theater. But, go to the recently renovated Grauman's Chinese Theater, and you'll be amazed by both the audio and video... I don't know about it having a homogenized sound, as the theater definitely has a sweet spot (middle 10 rows and 15-seats to either side of center). Outside of that, and the sound experience is o.k.
I remember reading an article I believe by the 'Audio Perfectionist' where he discussed this very issue.

If I recall correctly, he stated that the rooms and goals are entirely different. Therefore, the application and execution thereof is entirely different as well.

And the cinema has to make many more compromises to accommodate potentially hundreds of viewers in comparison to just a handful of viewers at home.

Made sense to me.

Sugarbrie, point well taken. Stehno, I will keep that in mind. Room size difference (I believe) should be a factor with such a tall headroom in the cinema. I will try to discover this secret technique used by the cinema. :)