Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
Remember when George Lucas and Steven Spielberg predicted Donald Trump would win the election and the United States would fall into a post-apocalyptic state of hell? Okay, maybe that wasn’t exactly what happened.
A few years back, the two legendary filmmakers predicted that some huge megabudget movies would come crashing to the ground causing an implosion of the Hollywood movie industry that would probably result in movie theaters moving to the “Broadway model” with moviegoers being charged more of a huge tentpole film than a smaller dramatic film. I’m not sure we’ve hit the implosion point that they theorized about (although this Summer had its fair share of box office bombs),
I don’t think we’ve hit the implosion point that they theorized about (although this Summer had its fair share of box office bombs), but big movie theater chains like AMC are beginning to consider this variable ticket price model. Find out the details, after the jump.
The CFO of AMC Entertainment Craig Ramsey made comments during the MKM Partners Entertainment Leisure and Consumer Technology Conference suggesting that variable pricing might be in the future for the AMC Theatres cinema chain, citing the company’s acquisition of a European theater company that already does so:
They [Odeon & UCI] are further advanced in variable pricing, where tentpole movies are priced up on release. That’s something we’ve talked about in the U.S. We expect to learn a lot with what they’ve done. We think it will position us to start having those conversations about pricing opportunities in the U.S.
Spielberg and Lucas predicted this move in 2013. The director of Indiana Jones and E.T. theorized, “You’re gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you’re probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln.” Lucas added, if that happens, the bigger movies will play in theaters much longer, and smaller projects will go towards TV. “I think eventually the Lincolns will go away and they’re going to be on television,” Lucas said. Spielberg added “As mine almost was. This close — ask HBO — this close.” You can watch a video containing their comments here.
American movie theater chains have been aggressively raising the price of movie theater admission, through the guise of upgraded technology like 3D projection, Dolby Atmos sound or large IMAX-scale screens. AMC has been very successfully pushing their more luxury theater going experience AMX Prime which involves reclining seats and more.
But the big question is will audiences pay more for a big budget Hollywood spectacle without a substantial upgrade to the experience? I think that lowering the cost of indie and lower budget films could perhaps drive more people to the cinema, but I don’t believe they are discussing creating a lower tier of a ticket, but rather introducing a higher level to the mix.
Would you pay more for a Hollywood Blockbuster ticket?
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