March 31, 2008
REDMOND, WA — An Australian theater chain will open a Seattle-area theater this fall with auditoriums with no more than 40 seats each but $35 tickets for luxury service.
An Australian theater chain opening in Redmond this fall is betting affluent audiences will pay three times the typical ticket price for plush, reclining seats equipped with call buttons for service, allowing them to order gourmet food, wine and cocktails from the theater’s restaurant.
Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas will open at Redmond Town Center in October, replacing the AMC theater that closed earlier this year.
It will cater to people who “don’t want to go to a cavernous multiplex and be caught up with hordes of people,” said Graham Burke, managing director and CEO of Village Roadshow Limited, the parent company.
Read more in the Seattle Times.
March 28, 2008
More and more theaters are using alcohol as a way of luring the adult crowd back into theaters.
Movie theater owners from California to Massachusetts are increasingly giving patrons the option of sipping a beer or a glass of wine with an expanding array of snacks.
About 150 first-run theaters serving alcohol have opened within the past three years, bringing the total of such establishments from 14 in 1997 to more than 400 today, says Patrick Corcoran, director of media and research for the National Association of Theatre Owners.
The full story is in USA Today.
March 25, 2008
Opera and sports broadcasts are gaining momentum in movie theaters. In one case, the Mets sold out the Ziegfeld Theatre.
Few think nonmovie content will supplant movies as the primary reason people trek to the multiplex. Rather, the hope is that all the niche offerings will add up to steady supplemental income.
“I love film, but the simple fact is that we can’t count on movie attendance to grow,” said Thomas W. Stephenson Jr., president of Rave Motion Pictures, which operates theaters in 11 states.
Read more in the New York Times.
March 21, 2008
An interesting read from Architect Magazine discusses the changing look and feel of today’s theaters.
Not long ago, the average American movie theater was big on square footage and short on personality. Cookie-cutter interiors made it difficult to distinguish one venue or chain from another. The introduction of stadium seating in the 1990s drew audiences with the promise of enhanced comfort (not aesthetics) and became the dominant trend in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Stadium seating “led to record attendance in 2002 and record box office in 2004,” says Patrick Corcoran of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), an industry group. But its novelty is wearing off, he says: “People are looking for something more.”
Lots more. Today, the industry is experiencing a burst in construction and renovation activity. Movie exhibitors around the country are tempting patrons with new, carefully designed theaters that cater to increasingly sophisticated desires. Parking lots, popcorn, and box-office lines are being replaced by valet parking, bars and restaurants, and online reserved seating. Companies ranging from industry giants Regal and AMC to the art-house Landmark hope to pull in bigger box offices through enhanced architecture.
“About every 11 years, there’s this spurt cycle where people reinvent what going to the movies is all about,” says veteran entertainment architect Mike Cummings, principal of TK Architects in Kansas City, Mo. Cummings believes the industry is now in the midst of one of these overhauls. “The [trend] before this, of course, was stadium seating and the big megaplex. But that’s not what we’re seeing anymore. There is a lot more attention to brand and to design.”
AUSTIN, TX — After the recent SXSW Festival, one blogger goes into great detail about how the Alamo Drafthouse caters to a dedicated audience.
I know, I know… I’m late to this party! The one big takeaway from my time in Austin at the SXSW Film Festival (aside from the hot indie rock girls, the parties, the great movies, and great food) was that I fell in love with the Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater.
I’ve been to movie theaters from coast to coast. I’ve been to The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Boston, the Castro in San Francisco, The Arclight in Los Angeles, and even the new Mark Cuban owned Landmark. The Alamo Drafthouse theater is by far the best movie theater I’ve ever been to. It’s the type of movie theater that makes me wish I lived in Texas, and here’s why…
Read more here.
According to this article in the St. Louis Business Journal, the 102-year-old Wehrenberg Theatre operation, the oldest family-owned theater chain in the United States, is being withdrawn from the market as available for sale. Apparently, no acceptable offers appeared to be forthcoming in the current economic climate.
As reported first in the St. Louis Business Journal in December, Wehrenberg, the country’s oldest family-owned and operated theater chain, was looking for a buyer for its 102-year-old theater operations. The company hired UBS Investment Bank to lead the search, but potential buyers were unable to make an offer that reflected the full value of Wehrenberg, Krueger said in a statement.
“I concluded the best action for our company is to be proactive to determine our own future,” Krueger said in a statement.
March 20, 2008
The Florida Times-Union named Cinema Treasures one of the best bets on the web.
March 17, 2008
With the consumer moving more and more to the internet for information, Regal might end newspaper listings for its theaters.
U.S. movie theater company Regal Entertainment Group is seeing diminishing returns from the millions of dollars it spends on movie listings in newspapers as people turn to the Internet for the information, Chief Executive Officer Michael Campbell said.
Theaters pay for listing their schedules in newspaper entertainment sections, but the largest U.S. theater chain has begun questioning the value.
Read the full story at Reuters.
March 14, 2008
There are arrangements to convert 10,000 more screens to 3-D.
Access Integrated Technologies Inc. said it had reached agreements with four studios — Disney, News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox, Viacom Inc.’s Paramount, and Universal Pictures, which is owned by General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal — to finance and equip the screens in the U.S. and Canada during the next three years.
The conversion will cost as much as $700 million, said Bud Mayo, chief executive of Access Integrated Technologies, which completed a first tranche of 3,700 digital conversions in October
For the full story, go to The Star.
(Thanks to zombophoto for providing the picture.)
March 13, 2008
An Associated Press piece suggests that there’s a correlation with a poor economy and high moviegoing numbers.
It was true during the Depression, when Americans managed to scrape together nickels and dimes for an escape to the movies. And as the prospect of another recession looms, studio executives say this time is no different.
Even as evidence mounts that people are tightening up on other expenses, movie attendance this year has been running ahead of 2007 numbers — welcome news at ShoWest, the annual convention of theater owners, which opens here Tuesday.
Domestic box-office revenues went up in five of the past seven recession years dating back to the 1960s, according to research compiled by the National Association of Theatre Owners.