More Commercials in Movie Theaters

Hot on the heels of news that moviegoers want fewer trailers during their theatrical experience, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark movie theaters are giving audiences exactly what they want: even more commercials in movie theaters.

Regal Cinemas and Cinemark have struck a new deal with National CineMedia to add more in-theater advertising that will play on the big screen before the attached trailers play. Thankfully, it won’t be nearly as long of an advertisement as the entire line-up of trailers that traditionally play before a movie.

Deadline has word on Regal Cinemas and Cinemark adding more commercials in movie theaters. The deal begins on November 1, and it will have a single 30-second or 60-second advertising spot that will play immediately before the attached trailers. And by attached trailers, we mean the one-or-two trailers that a given film’s distributor places before the movie, not the trailers that the movie theater chain chooses to put before the movie.

While there have been commercials playing before movies for a long time now, it’s usually a pre-show that kicks off before showtime, which means most of them usually aren’t seen by those who arrive closer to the start of the movie. That’s why these commercials will be more appealing for those trying to get their business in front of more eyes. By playing before the attached trailers, these commercials will appear much closer to the start of the feature presentation, which means they’re likely to get in front of more eyes.

That doesn’t sound all that intrusive, but there’s another wrinkle in this new deal that sounds much more annoying. The traditional pre-show roster of advertisements ends right before a movies listed showtime, which is usually when all the trailers start to play. However, this new agreement between Regal, Cinemark and National CineMedia will allow the pre-show to continue up to five minutes past the scheduled showtime. That means if you’re seeing a movie listed to start at 7pm, you might not see trailers start until 7:05pm, and then you’ll see another commercial between some of those trailers. What an experience!

What makes this deal lucrative for Regal Cinemas and Cinemark is that they’ll be getting 25% of the revenue collected from the commercials. The so-called “platinum spot” for commercials should be a hot commodity for businesses too, but we’re hoping that this isn’t the start of a new trend for all movie theaters. As it is, there’s already between 15 and 20 minutes of trailers before a movie, and we don’t need anymore commercials besides that delaying the feature presentation, especially for movies that are already two hours or longer.

National CineMedia President Cliff Marks had the audacity to say that he though these platinum spot commercials could be “something special and something that consumers even look forward to.” Can someone give me whatever Cliff has been smoking? Because it sounds like some good shit. Is there any time, other than the Super Bowl, when people actually look forward to commercials? I can’t imagine a world with people be standing in line for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker saying, “Oh, I hope they play one of those Geico ads with the little lizard. He always gets into hilarious hijinks.”

This is exactly the kind of thing that moviegoers don’t want to see in their theatrical experience, something that audiences have seemed less and less interested in as time goes on. Instead of figuring out new ways to get audiences excited about going to the movies again, it seems like chains are just trying to make it more profitable without thinking about the customer experience. The result will just be the continued drop in movie theater attendance, and we don’t even want to think about what it will be like if movie theaters have to start closing down.

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