Village Roadshow to bring theater luxury up another notch

posted by Michael Zoldessy on September 10, 2008 at 11:00 am

AUSTIN, TX — Incorporating many amenities already present in newer theaters across the United States like reserved seating, fancier food and alcohol, Village Roadshow plans to open new theaters in major markets with ticket prices as high as $35. The first two open in Seattle and Chicago next month.

“We’re redefining our business as a hospitality business,” said Robert Kirby, chairman of the entertainment conglomerate, which produces films and already has a line of Gold Class theaters operating Down Under as well as in Singapore and Greece.

Kirby said Gold Class was designed a decade ago to enable regular folks to enjoy movies the way Hollywood studio bigwigs do, in plush screening rooms with first-class catering.

“We can all get from A to B,” Kirby said, “but people like to drive a BMW. You can stay at a motel or enjoy the luxury of a Four Seasons Hotel.”

Will the market bear this type of theater chain?

Read more in the Austin American-Statesman.

Comments (2)

KenLayton on September 11, 2008 at 1:56 am

Didn’t that same company send out this exact same press release a year ago?

danpetitpas on September 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm

They may have. Their first theater opens next month at an old AMC theater in Redmond, IL.

The article says they’re going after the above-40 crowd, which is interesting because most movies aren’t made for the above-40 crowd.

These are also people who don’t want to be bothered by teenagers. Now, I might be willing to pay extra for that, but they’re also going after people who want to eat and drink during the film. That would be more of a distraction for me than an occasional kick to the back of my seat. And with servers going in and out taking orders and bringing more food and beer — way too distracting.

It’s also interesting there are only going to be 40 seats to a hall. That’s about the size of Steven Spielberg’s screening room.

I personally would rather sit at home and watch a DVD than spend $35 a ticket for a movie, but I have seen people going into the Luxe Level cinemas at the local Showcase Cinema, so there seems to be a market for this. The question is how much of a market. I don’t own a luxury condo or shop at the downtown upscale mall with Tiffany’s and Barney’s in it, but plenty of people do have that much disposable income and do. So we’ll see. It’s a $200 million bet!

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