Chains Experiment With Pre-Show Entertainment

posted by Patrick Crowley on January 5, 2004 at 7:57 am

An interesting report in the Washington Post examines trends in movie theater pre-show entertainment. Pre-show entertainment typically consists of slide-based advertisements shown prior to the beginning of a movie, while the audience is entering the auditorium.

But with the new digital projection systems, theaters are switching pre-shows to full-motion video that resembles television. The new systems seem to be a win for both advertisers and consumers:

“We have tried to be sensitive to the audience while they’re sitting there waiting for the movie to start,” said Kurt C. Hall, Regal’s co-chief executive. “We wanted to create something that’s entertaining and a heck of a lot better than what’s been in cinemas before. The static slides are primarily local and regional advertising and are pretty poorly done. They’re pretty boring, quite honestly. We’ve tried to upgrade that.”

Comments (6)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on January 5, 2004 at 9:04 am

Two interesting snippets from this article…

(1) “Over an average week, only 12 to 13 percent of Regal’s seats are filled, dipping below 5 percent on the movie dead days of Monday through Thursday, Hull said.”

(2) “I think it also sends the message that our theaters are a home for multiple kinds of entertainment options even beyond movies.”

When digital cinema is fully-deployed, I think it’ll a no-brainer for theater chains to offer all sorts of new programming… how about watching Monday Night Football on a giant movie screen? Can’t see your favorite band in concert? Just catch the live satellite feed. Or, what if you could watch the season finale of your favorite TV show on the big screen?

Todd on February 24, 2004 at 8:52 am

Do you think since Regal signed a deal with Turner that it will give them exclusive rights to some of their library. I grew up in Atlanta and watched Turner Broadcasting when it was a dinky uhf channel 17, but the programming with its cartoons and slew of other programs allows for all kinds of untapped cinema pre-show entertainment that would fly in a single screen environment in the cinema treasure I am working diligently to save. Your thoughts? I know that Turner Classic Movies Channel helps the fox so it may not be exclusive …

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 24, 2004 at 11:35 am

I’m not familiar with the Regal/Turner deal, Todd. Do you have a link to any coverage where I can read more about it?

Todd on February 25, 2004 at 4:27 pm

It’s listed in the Whashington Post article you posted. It says they will be showing . . cartoons and mini-movies. Do you think that they will use brand new ones or show old ones? Turner does own cartoon network and thier library is huge (Warner Bros.)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 26, 2004 at 8:46 am

Oh, sorry. Braindead here.

The best way I can describe the “The 2wenty” is that it’s a lot like entertainment news shows like Entertainment Tonight and Extra. While entertaining, it mostly serves to promote — either as advertisements or featurettes — existing or upcoming television shows, movies, and the like.

antipode on April 2, 2008 at 4:29 pm


I’m Dayan from Antipode Entertainment, and I found this page interersting. We too have been developing a pre-show entertainment program for threatres, and it’s all 100% animation. A couple of years ago we started thinking about it when the slide shows were starting to be replaced and we thought, why not bring back cartoons to the movies in a new way. I have more info about this program on our web site at

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