Can cushy seats save movie theaters?
Movie theaters have had a hard time of it lately, with their revenue staying flat while streaming services like Netflix have been pushing profits sky high. It’s not hard to see why: theater prices have been on the rise while the moviegoing experience has steadily grown worse. Between outdated theaters, lousy concessions, people talking during the movie, and the number of 3D screenings — with more expensive tickets — that none of us want in the first place, it’s easy to see why so many people choose to stay home and watch Netflix.
However, theaters are working to reverse this trend (though they’re not backing down from 3D) by investing in better theaters. AMC is currently in the process of spending $600 million to replace traditional theater seating with plush recliners. Because the recliners are larger than standard seating, it’s a move that reduces the number of seats available in a theater by as much as 70% — but since it can increase attendance by as much as 80%, it’s still a worthwhile move for theaters owners… who plan to charge more for theaters with cushy seating.
And AMC isn’t the only one looking to improve its theaters — both Cinemark and Regal have been following suit, and many theaters have taken to offering an improved menu of concessions to tempt people out of the house. But will all of this remodeling be enough to make going to the movies fun again? Until these theaters ban talking and texting, I’m happy to stay home… or visit the Alamo Drafthouse, where you can enjoy movies in peace.
Source: Wall Street Journal