Sunday Discussion: The $30 Movie Ticket - Would You Pay?
This news initially hit in the middle of last week, but I thought I'd hold onto it to bring up again in our latest Sunday Discussion. On Wednesday, Variety posted a press release announcing the planned construction of at least 50 new Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas. Featuring some very lavish amenities, including nice seats and upscale food, the ticket price is reported to top out at upwards of $30 to $35! After personally experiencing top-notch service at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas and enjoying a flick in The Landmark's "Living Room" couch theaters in LA, I'm wondering whether this price actually seems reasonable or obnoxious? It's time to open up this discussion to all of you!
Village Roadshow is planning to open the first few theaters in suburbs of Chicago and Seattle later this year. "Each complex will sport theaters featuring 40 reclining armchair seats with footrests, digital projection and the capability to screen 2-D and 3-D movies, as well as a lounge and bar serving cocktails and appetizers, a concierge service and valet parking." In addition, you can order custom meals like sushi and other "theater-friendly foods", but it will all cost extra. What they don't mention is what exactly you'll get if you pay $35 for a ticket - especially if it doesn't include food.
The interesting thing with these Village Roadshow theaters is that I think they're missing out on numerous demographics by focusing on only one - the old, rich folks. The theaters are being funded by the "Retirement Systems of Alabama pension fund" and were referred to by the CEO as "what Mercedes is to a Toyota." It's obvious that they think the only people they'll be able to sell this to are "upscale and affluent consumers" (another actual quote), when I do think there are countless other individuals, who I hope voice their opinion below, who would love this experience as well, despite not being affluent. This is key in understanding what moviegoers want in general anyway.
The discussion on the movie theater experience and pricing has been our underlying theme since FS.net began. When asked what would make someone actually go to the movie theater more, the typical response is lower ticket prices. However, I think that's simply a request in comparison to the service that a consumer receives. As in, when they perceive the value to be a lot more, they don't mind spending more money, despite complaining about the high prices currently. So when everyone goes to your typical Regal, Cinemark, or AMC theater, the experience they get is not really worth the $10 ticket. But would they pay $30 if they knew they would get a better experience - that is the question.
I would claim that I think if given the right features and if setup correctly, most people would spend $30 on a movie ticket for particular occasions. I can't see a consumer who goes every week spending $30 for every movie they see. But what I can see is a group of friends spending $30 to see The Dark Knight this summer if it gets you a lot more than the same old crap you get at your local cineplex - whether that be nicer seats or free comic books or something else. What I think it comes down to then is a question of experience and what exactly you get. Do the Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas with reclining armchair seats, cocktails, and valet parking justify the cost? Or is there more you want, too?
Now it's time to ask - would you pay $30 or $35 for a movie ticket if you knew you could get nicer amenities like those that were mentioned as part of the Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas? What features would you like to see? What would make a $30 ticket price actually worth it? Let the discussion begin!