Movie Theaters Trying To Lure Customers With Any Non-Movie Event They Can

In a bid to save the movie theater industry, venues around the country are turning to just about any other kind of entertainment event they can possibly show that isn’t actually a movie. If you’ve got that big old screen and seats for plenty of people, why not pull in some business with say, a nice opera or live boxing match?

The Los Angeles Times reports on the escalating trend of movie theaters hosting special events like live concerts, plays, operas and sporting events, as attendance for traditional movie blockbusters wanes. Combined with better food, huge screens and 3-D capability, theaters still have a few things to offer that people can’t get in the comfort of their own homes.

“We want theaters to be community centers, where people can come hang out and enjoy themselves and not just watch a movie,” said Robert Lenihan, president of programming at AMC Entertainment Inc. “If we can offer better and fresher experiences, we think they will visit the theater more often.”

Movies used to be physically shipped to theaters, but with the digital conversion expected to be complete by 2013, about 2,000 theaters nationwide will soon be connected to a new satellite distribution network. That will allow studios to cut distribution costs and let theater owners get movies to your eyeballs faster, as well as the ability to broadcast live events easier.

One downside for theaters is that making money is a bit tricky with this non-movie game. The price of tickets to events doesn’t always cover the costs for things like the right to major sports leagues’ licensing fees.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out, or if consumers will continue to prefer staying at home in their recliners with fully-stocked fridges close at hand.