Prior to the nickelodeon boom, movies in the US would primarily have been seen as part of Vaudeville shows, or other longer, more expensive expositions. Nickelodians were a relatively cheap way for the masses to see movies on a regular basis, and helped make movies not just a occasional treat, but a regular part of American life. It also vastly increased the demand for movies, leading to an increase in production. Some of the major nickelodeon owners would, through buy outs, mergers and vertical integrations, go on to create many of the major American studios that still thrive today.
Eventually, however, the nickelodeons were largely replaced by grander, more luxurious “picture palaces” as the taste of the public, and thus the venues associated with film, began to change.
“Vaudette Theater, Whitehall Street, Atlanta Georgia 1913” photo provided by CharmaineZoe’s Marvelous Melange.