Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner, the guys behind the simultaneous theatrical, DVD and Pay Per View release of Steven Soderbergh’s Bubble (did anybody end up seeing that movie?) want to overhaul the movie theater experience.
These guys were accused of trying to bring down the movie theater industry with their multiple format release of that film, but now they’re trying to be the white knights of the industry. Their plan is to essentially “reboot” the concept of the movie theater, making it a more comfortable and desirable place to watch movies than at home on that HDTV.
Their plan is to raise ticket prices and include concessions in the entry price, so that the audience can just walk up and get a snack without having to stand in line. Yeah, that’ll work with today’s self-controlled audiences. They’d have to jack up ticket prices to $40 to make up for all the people eating and drinking double and triple portions:
“‘As far as popcorn, soda and theater staples, they aren’t going anywhere. We just incorporated them into the price of the ticket and made them fun self-service items,’ Cuban says. ‘Hopefully our Wall of Popcorn will work out the way we plan. We don’t want people waiting in line for popcorn and soda, we want people on dates to be on a date and have fun.'”
They also want to make the seating more comfortable and inviting:
“‘We are going to experiment with all kinds of seating plans,’ Cuban says. ‘From sofas at the new Landmark in the Westside Pavilion, where we will literally try to make it more like a living room experience than a theater.'”
There’s also talk of possible bean bag seating and VIP Lounge seating.
While I think this all sounds good on paper, the reality of it is that if you make movie theaters even more like living rooms, people will treat them as such even more than they do now. You think people are rude with conversation-volume-level talking during films and cell phones now? Can you imagine if they’re even more comfortable??
Thanks, but no thanks. You want to make this really work? Try making these items a part of the plan:
1. Have at least two ushers per theater that actually look like they have some clout, and will proactively keep people quiet and throw out “movie-talkers” and people who use cell phones during movies.
2. Especially if prices will be raised, you’d better make DAMN sure I don’t see any stinking commercials on that screen before the movie starts. I don’t care HOW entertaining, funny or cute they may be.
Those are two of the bigger issues I see. What do you think?
Source: Variety via Cinematical