by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
3d, business models, change, movies, theaters

Whisper It, But Maybe Movie Theaters Are Grasping The Need For Change

from the sticky-floors dept

There have been several signs over the past year that movie theaters are beginning to understand that they need to change their businesses if they are to stay in business -- for example: bigger and better screens, more luxurious environments, richer technology like 3D, even making the pre-show ads more entertaining. While we're skeptical about some of these enhancements -- particularly when they're really only used as justifications for higher ticket prices, it does reflect that theater owners have recognized they have to change. One idea that's getting more and more attention is that theaters don't have to limit themselves to just movies. It's become common for theaters to show special events like concerts, or the Metropolitan Opera, that are well outside the typical fare of Hollywood films. This week, a number of theaters nationwide will show the BCS college football title game, hoping to draw some viewers away from their couches or sports bars. That might seem like an exercise in futility, but the theaters can offer something more: the game will be in 3D. Movie theaters used to be relevant because, apart from waiting for movies to show up (if ever) on TV, they were about the only place to catch films. When home video came on the scene, their position began to erode, and it continues to do so as home theaters get better and better. As a result, many theaters offer a comparatively poor movie-going experience. In addition to improving that experience, theaters will do well to un-pigeon hole themselves as movie houses, take advantage of their unique offerings, and diversify their content.

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  1. identicon
    Jeff, 8 Jan 2009 @ 12:41pm

    the drafthouse

    For years the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin has been doing this right. A large amount of their content comes from non-movies: music sing-alongs, movie quote-athons, live tv coverege (heroes, lost, football), etc. They also generate a lot of their own content including a mystery-science 2000 style live show and random things like a 90 minute mockery of crazy Japanese television.

    Don't show any commercials before real movies. Instead they usually show videos that are related to the movie. For example, when Hot Fuzz was released they compiled a bunch of "On the next episode of ..." clips from the 80s show TJ Hooker staring William Shatner. The rapid succession of bad explosions and shootouts with William Shatner quotes was astonishingly hillarious.

    And finally--they serve alcohol, hard liqour, and quality food for reasonable prices. They have real nice seats and nobody ever obscures your view because there's a bar table in front of you.

    While are smaller in scale than a Cinemaplex, they are always busy and appear to be amazingly successful. If you're looking for an example of a modern day movie theater--this is it.

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