If you're the kind of person that only ever goes to the cinema to see the latest big-budget blockbuster everyone's talking about, things could get a little more expensive as Regal Cinemas are set to trial an ambitious new pricing structure. Numerous studies and statistics have shown that the cinema industry hasn't exactly been thriving in recent times. Economic recession, the rise of online streaming services and illegal movie piracy have all played their part in declining cinema revenue, with less people willing to shell out their hard-earned cash for the cinema experience.
One somewhat controversial attempt to combat this trend is MoviePass. This subscription-based service charges $9.95 per month and, in return, allows members to see a movie per day but theater chains such as AMC have criticized what they believe to be an unsustainable business model. Similar apps such as Sinemia have also launched but largely, cinema chains charge customers a flat-rate on their tickets that can vary depending on peak and off-peak showing times.
However, Regal Cinemas and Atom Tickets LLC are planning to trial an alternative in early 2018. As reported by Bloomberg, the Regal Entertainment Group will test demand-based pricing; essentially meaning that popular movies will cost more to see and flops will be cheaper. The chain is hoping that the new prices will boost revenue and increase attendance during off-peak hours. Chief Executive Officer Amy Miles commented on the decision, stating:
“Changes to the historical pricing structure have often been discussed but rarely tested in our industry and we’re excited to learn even more about how pricing changes impact customer behavior.”
According to the report, Miles also confirmed that Regal would not consider sharing revenue with MoviePass.
Undoubtedly, cinema chains need to take drastic action in order to reverse their declining revenue and ticket sale figures and capitalizing on the most popular movie releases could provide that much-needed boost in profits. After all, big franchise-led tentpole releases such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars movies continue to bring in record-breaking amounts of box office. The new pricing structure could also mean that the lower ticket prices offered for unsuccessful films tempt moviegoers into seeing releases they would usually avoid, therefore increasing the profitability of so-called "flops."
However, it's highly likely that most movie fans will balk at the idea of paying more for their cinema experience, as a trip to the theater is already an expensive affair. Taking a family of four to see a movie in 2017 already costs enough to necessitate taking out a small mortgage once popcorn and drinks are factored into the equation and the silver lining of getting to see the latest Adam Sandler flick at a cut price is unlikely to be much consolation to the average moviegoer.
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