Cinemas are Innovating and Improving Comfort to Keep Seats Filled at the Box Office
From on-demand streaming services to movie piracy, movie theaters have plenty of competition in today’s entertainment marketplace. Cinemas have certainly struggled to fill their seats with casual moviegoers but recent innovations and new trends could turn things around for the average movie theater. Many cinemas across the country have re-designed the way their customers experience in-theater entertainment, and have increased their profits at the same time.
Let viewers watch a movie as many times as they’d like
After the release of the (admittedly confusing) outer space blockbuster Interstellar, AMC Theaters decided to test out an unlimited viewing option. Moviegoers could purchase a ticket, which ranged in price based on location, and that ticket allowed them to watch the film as many times as they wanted to within a certain timeframe.
The idea took hold and now customers can purchase monthly unlimited passes for AMC Theaters through MoviePass. The passes cost $30 or $35 per month, and could be a great incentive for frequent moviegoers. Subscription services are rising in popularity, and theaters can also benefit from this trend.
Add reclining seats, and other comforts, to cinemas
When ticket sales began to decline, cinema chains like Regal, AMC, and Cinemark decided to try something new. One of the main perks to at-home streaming services like Netflix and Hulu is that customers don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home, or their couch, to be entertained. Theaters combated this by adding comfortable reclining chairs and other amenities to draw viewers in, and the tactic appears to have worked. Increasing customer comfort can be a huge draw, after all.
Variety also noted that theaters improved other parts of the cinema experience, like their menus. By offering more dining options movie theaters can improve the customer experience, and increase profits via food and beverage sales.
Remember the past in unique movie theaters, and make it fun
Smaller theater chains, like the Alamo Drafthouse, have redefined the theater experience by bringing classic movies to the big screen, along with a fun and interactive environment. Customers can enjoy the favorite movies of their past while being served food and drink by attentive servers. It’s a niche that has served the company well, and viewers can’t get enough of the quirky atmosphere. As co-founder and CEO Tim League says:
"The cinema industry is competing against everything else people can do on a Friday or Saturday night. If they don't have a good time, you're going to lose them to something else. So much of what we do is trying to make the Alamo experience special."
The company’s continued success and expansion is a clear indicator of how well-loved this nostalgic concept has been.
Adding alcohol to the menu has been extremely successful
Some moviegoers would prefer to enjoy their movie with a cold beer or a glass of fine wine, and theaters have taken note. AMC is leading the charge once again by offering “enhanced” food and beverage options at select theaters across the country. The Alamo Drafthouse also serves alcoholic beverages at its locations.
Alcohol isn’t the only enhanced beverage option that cinemas can offer, either. Made-to-order food has also become a popular customer experience innovation as theaters continue to lure customers off of their couches and into the movie theater.