Thu, Jan 8th 2009 10:15am
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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