At the last place I worked, we unfortunately encouraged ushers to do whatever they could to get as much money as they could. Why? Because the theaters that collect the most get special bonuses, or some other sort of incentives (I forget what exactly). So, some of our staff became quite aggressive with the customers in asking for their coin. They’d make remarks behind the backs of people who didn’t give, for instance, or otherwise attempt to make non-givers feel guilty in some way.
Summer means movies, but don’t get stuck paying $12 per ticket or $7 for a bag of popcorn. Instead, check out these nine ways to slash your movie budget without missing any summer blockbusters.
Everyone likes to help the less fortunate—at least, that’s what we’re going to go with publicly for the sake of this argument. That said, is it really appropriate to be asked to pony up donation money when you’re sitting in a theater waiting for your movie to begin? You’ve already paid more than you probably wanted to for the tickets, not to mention any refreshments—shouldn’t that ticket price also include an implied guarantee that you won’t be asked to tithe?
Yes, you are a great theater. You have large, new accommodations that really make the 7.50 I spend on a showing feel different from watching it on my laptop or friend’s TV. Your parking is usually free and you constantly have showings for stuff I’m into.
We watched the “Simpsons” movie yesterday at the Regal multiplex at Union Square in New York City, and for the entire movie, the right third of the screen was out of focus. We never got up to complain to management for several reasons:
we were being stupid and lazy
we were in the center of a full theater and didn’t want the hassle of climbing out and back in
we really thought someone else closer to the aisles would eventually do it
we thought maybe the lucky anonymous person with the QA remote (previously discussed here) would push the right button
Why pay $10 to see a movie when you can save up to 50% by purchasing several tickets at once? Several clubs and organizations offer significant discounts to consumers willing to buy a book of tickets:
Not content with providing just fee-ridden television and internet service, Comcast is looking to charge up to $49.95 to stream movies to your home the day they premier in theaters. The two largest movie theater operators, Regal Entertainment and National Amusements, have banded together to express their displeasure, with Regal’s CEO saying: “We’re not interested in playing anything that makes its debut in the home and at the theater at the same time.” Comcast doesn’t care.
Stephen Burke, Comcast’s cable president and chief operating officer, told an audience at an industry conference this week that several studios were “very interested” in the idea of allowing cable providers to charge $29.95 to $49.95 to watch an opening-day movie at home. He said it would increase studio revenues rather than cannibalize them, if handled properly.
The studios, too busy drooling over the prospects of additional profit, declined to comment. Would you forego the deliciously buttery movie theater experience for the comfort of your home? Tell us in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
- Regal Theaters, the nation’s largest theater chain, has begun testing devices in 25 of its locations that allow patrons to summon ushers if audience members use cell phones or become unruly. Regal Chief Executive Michael Campbell told the Reuters Media Summit in New York Wednesday that a second button will notify management of faulty projection, a third about uncomfortable room temperature, and a fourth about any other problem. Campbell said that ordinarily customers won’t say anything such problems while the film is running. “They just will complain on their way out or, in the worst case scenario, they don’t come back.” He said that he expects the device to be available nationwide next year and that it will be given to “mature” audience members, who will receive free popcorn for their efforts.
There’s not a ton of new information in Ars Technica’s Peek into movie theater economics, but Ken Fisher does manage to pull out a few bits that were new to us.