Regal profit falls; digital upgrade advances
posted by Michael Zoldessy on July 29, 2008 at 7:45 am
Regal profits are down but they’re going to try to make up for it by speeding up the digital rollout.
Regal Entertainment Group , the largest U.S. movie theater owner, posted sharply lower quarterly profit on Thursday and said improvement might not come until the fourth quarter.
But the company also reported progress in a long-delayed digital upgrade expected to boost sagging attendance at movie theaters.
Second-quarter net income fell to $13.8 million, or 9 cents a share, from $52.7 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier.
Read more at the Guradian.
Part of the problem is they do little to advertise the difference between film and digital projection. No house boards, no on screen trailer of the format like some other venues do. If you don’t educate the public on the difference, they won’t appreciate the difference.
Another is, of course, the much complained about customer service and projection quality, or lack thereof. If you have staff who don’t care about the customer or people in the booth who know what they’re doing, its obvious your customer isn’t going to come back.
And Regal’s high prices are driving away people too.
Although digital cuts costs for studios (print wise), it doesn’t improve the audience experience. Back in the days of Todd-AO and Cinerama, the audience could SEE and HEAR the difference. However digital is really just a bookkeeper’s format.
I haven’t been to a Regal in three years, when I went to the one in South Plainfield near a hotel respite by UCP. I only saw two movies there, the Hulk and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I missed the first few minutes of each movie since they introduced the 2wenty program at this theater, especially with the Hulk movie due to traffic issues and eating a late lunch. Lately, this theater has been showing digital projection, but only for NCM Fathom events. I’ve been near the Pohatcong cinema right across from the McDonald’s, and that theater can’t keep up with another Warren County theater, the Mansfield, with half of its screens with DLP.
Their 18 plex in New Rochelle, NY is one of their top grossing theaters in the entire chain. They ran 24 hour shows of “The Dark Knight” during opening week. The theater is always crazy busy, too much for me at times, but they struck gold with this location.
Aren’t they partners in National Cine media and isn’t that venture a money maker??? Outside of trailers, why doesn’t Fathomevents ever advertise in newspapers??
We’ve debated the film vs digital format over and over but, sorry, I have to say that in the case of Regal and AMC in the DC metro market, where many of their venues have lousy scratchy film projection anyway, digital is, indeed superior.
Ken, I forgot to mention prices but it seems everybody is charging about $10 in this market per adult ticket during peak hours. Expensive, yes, but with everything else going up, what is one to do except wait for the DVD or cable release. I still enjoy going to the movies on opening weekend, preferably a full house enjoying the entertainment on screen. If it ever gets up to $15 on a regular basis, maybe I’ll think twice about it but then again, IMAX is charging that much and in the case of a film like the latest Batman, it was worth it.
In cities like Santa Cruz CA Regal took over the new Harris SC 9. The city of Santa Cruz has no digital theatres or 3-D. Regal won’t even spend money in the local papers for disply adds on what they are showing. Jim who runs the Nickelodeon Theatres ‘Delmar Theatre’ and other art theatres in the Santa Cruz area runs display adds in the local papers. Regal is so cheap but they love the money they are making in this Surf City Santa Cruz as being the only big megaplex in town. Most movie people have to drive over the hill to San Jose Ca (30 mn drive) to see the new digital 3-D as the Regal 9 in Santa Cruz does not have digital projection or even advertise. It’s so sad a big college town like SC and you have to leave town to see a movie like ‘Journey’ in 3-D because the Regal 9 is showing it in 35mm no 3-D. Now I hope someday the art deco ‘Delmar’ with it’s waterfall curtain and red/blue stage lights and a great Dolby DigitalÂ® surround system will have digital and 3-D. Regal down the street has no showmanship and even if they do install a digital projector no one in Santa Cruz will find out as Regal won’t advertise it! I guess you can drive downtown and look at the Regal 9’s dusty dirty marquee to see what is showing each week and stand in the long line with one cashier in a 3 window booth. Someone needs to open a big Imax Theatre with 3-D in this coast tourist city. Then Regal will wake up.