We've talked for years about how the movie theater industry's real problem was that the movie-going experience
was terrible. The prices went up and the actual experience kept getting worse and worse. That drove people to look for alternatives, such as home theater systems. A simple solution would be to make the experience better
and convince movie goers that it was a fun social experience to go out to the movies, to be able to experience the movie in a way that was different from the home theater experience. Last week, we pointed out that some theaters were moving more towards things like IMAX screens, which is a start. However, rob
wrote in to point out that a few firms have teamed up to build a series of "luxury theaters" around the country
, targeting a higher class of movie-goer willing to spend more for a top notch experience. As Variety explains:
Each complex will sport theaters featuring 40 reclining armchair seats with footrests, digital projection and the capability to screen 2-D and 3-D movies, as well as a lounge and bar serving cocktails and appetizers, a concierge service and valet parking. But the circuit will especially push its culinary offerings -- made-to-order meals like sushi and other theater-friendly foods from on-site chefs (a service button at each seat calls a waiter).
That seems like a step in the right direction... other than the fact that the price is probably going to turn an awful lot of people off. It's $35 per movie ticket, and that doesn't include that special on-site chef food. While it definitely makes sense to charge more for tickets to such a theater, a $35 entrance fee, not including any food seems pretty steep. What's wrong with just making the regular
theater experience better?