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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Cineplex Seating Surcharge (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Cineplex Seating Surcharge
Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1851
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 05-22-2014 10:22 PM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Toronto Star

quote: Toronto Star

Later this year, at the Odeon Varsity, the company will launch a pilot project in which patrons pay an extra $2-$3 for the prime seats in the middle rows of the theatre.

Never mind getting to the theatre early and lining up for a chance at the best seats, Cineplex is going to start charging moviegoers extra to sit in them.

Later this year, at the Varsity location in Toronto’s Manulife Centre, the company will launch a pilot project in which patrons pay an extra $2-$3 for the prime seats in the middle rows of the theatre.

“We’ve had great success with our UltraAVX cinemas ($3-$5 surcharge) as well as our VIP cinemas ($7-$12 surcharge) which both offer reserved seating; and so people really like that opportunity,” said spokeswoman Pat Marshall.

“It’s really about providing our guests with choices when they go to the movies . . . I sort of position it akin to an aircraft where you have your regular coach seating, then you might want a bit more amenities, so you go into business class, and then you have a first-class.”

The airline analogy may not sit well with consumers already feeling nickelled-and-dimed by the airline industry, which now routinely charges for once free snacks, blankets and headsets.

“It all hinges on whether they see value in sitting in that particular area,” said Brock University marketing professor and pricing expert Eric Dolansky, when asked whether consumers will embrace the Cineplex concept.

“I’m an avid moviegoer myself. I prefer to sit there. Would I pay extra to sit there? It’s difficult to say.”

“I don’t perceive myself as seeing $2-3 worth of value unless there’s something special about those seats. If I can sit in the fourth row up for $2 less I would rather do that.”

And just like on a plane when the door slams shut, imagine the seat dance that will occur if the premium seats are empty when the film begins.

“Guests could certainly occupy those seats, but if at some point later on during the presentation the guests who have those reserved seats arrive they will be asked to move,” said Marshall. “We wouldn’t encourage that because it’s not only disruptive to them in the audience, but it’s also disruptive to all those folks around them.”

Fortunately, not everyone wants to sit in the traditional best in house seats.

“Some people absolutely believe that to be the sweet spot, but I’ve spoken with many filmgoers over the years and often they say the older you get the further back in the auditorium you tend to go,” said Marshall. “If you’re young you tend to be right up front; as you age, you move towards the middle; and as you get older, you want to go to the very back.”

The company is also planning to expand its arcade offerings.

“It represents about $66 million a year to us in annual revenue; it’s a lot of money and we see that there are opportunities to grow that business,” said Marshall.

Guests could certainly occupy those seats, but if at some point later on during the presentation the guests who have those reserved seats arrive they will be asked to move.

I don't know. They should either do reserved seating, or general admission. This is neither, it will just annoy people. It shouts to me, stay home and rent a Bluray.

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Marcel Birgelen
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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
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 - posted 05-24-2014 04:36 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's already a thread about Cimeplex's "Premium Seating" [Wink] .

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Jim Cassedy
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From: San Francisco, CA
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 - posted 05-24-2014 09:42 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would pay $2-3 extra if I could be guaranteed that NOBODY with a smart-phone
would sit anywhere within my field of vision. (That's assuming I actually paid
money when I to go see a movie, which I don't.)

It really won't make a difference. The movie exhibition buisness, as
we know it, has a limited lifespan and is now in it's death throes anyway.

In a few years, people will pay to come & sit in a theater, and we'll stream the
content directly to their phones & tablets, since that's what so many of them
seem to prefer watching now in the auditorium anyway.

Digital projection & large screens will be just as obsolete as 35mm. We'll be
dumping all those new projectors and fancy sound systems & replacing
them with hi-speed local wireless networks & streaming servers.

Aren'tcha glad you spent all the money upgrading now?

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 05-24-2014 10:33 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We got one better: "Reserved Seating" - no extra charge involved.

Either reserve your seating on FANDANGO (and spend the extra surcharge that FANDANGO charges), or go to the boxoffice and buy your tickets in advance.

All of our seats have numbers on them with row lettering on placecards mounted on the wall.

Or, spend the extra three bucks and have VIP seating up in the balconies and get food and drink (alcohol included) served to you prior to the beginning of the show.

We do get some attention this way since we're the only location in the area with this advantage.

Oh, we have a restaurant upstairs to go along with the fun.

One house had D-BOX seating - this attracts the ones who wants to spend the eight buck surcharge on top of the ticket price.

-Monte

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Frank Cox
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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 05-24-2014 10:58 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How do you enforce that? If some little old lady reserves seat A29 and gets there to find a 300lb wrestler sitting there with his buddies, what happens next?

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 05-25-2014 12:31 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our ushers will ask for his tix to see if he's in the right seat. Otherwise, he is given the choice of moving to his purchased seat or go out and get a refund. We've rarely experienced such an issue, but if so, they get solved in a respectable manner.

My only gripe with this reserve thing is that it really slows down the flow of tix sales with the patrons having to choose their seat on the touch screen in front of them.

The patrons are pretty good in understanding this reserve seat policy.

One can check it out all in this linky.

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Terry Lynn-Stevens
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From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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 - posted 05-25-2014 10:22 AM      Profile for Terry Lynn-Stevens   Email Terry Lynn-Stevens   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Jim Cassedy
I would pay $2-3 extra if I could be guaranteed that NOBODY with a smart-phone
would sit anywhere within my field of vision. (That's assuming I actually paid
money when I to go see a movie, which I don't.)

I have been lucky I guess, I haven't had a cell phone problem for a very long time. I would be nice if cell phones could be blocked out while inside the theatre.

quote: Monte L Fullmer
We got one better: "Reserved Seating" - no extra charge involved.

I think eventually Cineplex is going to open up reserve seating in all auditoriums. I would probably go more often to the movies if I knew my seat was reserved ahead of time.

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Scott Norwood
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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 05-25-2014 11:23 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This industry sure does love its surcharges. Since 2005-ish, we now have

- 3D surcharge
- Imax (Lie-Max) surcharge
- Imax 3D (Lie-Max) surcharge
- D-box surcharge
- RPX/ETX/etc. surcharge
- RPX/ETX/etc. 3D surcharge
- "premium" theatre (dinner, lounge chairs, etc.) surcharge

and possibly others. And now we have a surcharge to not sit in crappy seats. This is in addition to the Moviefone/Fandango surcharges that have been in place for years. What is next? A surcharge to sit in a seat as opposed to standing?

This just seems to be yet another surcharge on the way to the self-destruction of the exhibition industry (at least the mainstream-y multiplex end of it). When will the people who come up with these inane pricing schemes realize that a) the point of the motion-picture exhibition business is to provide readily accessible and inexpensive out-of-home entertainment and that b) people hate being nickeled and dimed (the comnparison to airlines is apt).

As a paying customer, my reaction to this would be to see movies elsewhere on busy nights and sit in the "premium" seats without paying the surcharge on slow nights.

I kind of like the idea of reserved seating without a surcharge, although it probably has the greatest benefit to those who buy adavance tickets and are willing to pay the surcharge to do so (which I think is ia rip-off and will not pay).

What ever happened to providing quality at a reasonable price rather than alienating consumers by prying every dollar possible out of their wallets until they stop going to movies altogether (which I expect will happen very soon if these surcharges do not stop)?

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Terry Lynn-Stevens
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 - posted 05-25-2014 11:37 AM      Profile for Terry Lynn-Stevens   Email Terry Lynn-Stevens   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
- Imax (Lie-Max) surcharge
- Imax 3D (Lie-Max) surcharge

Scott, IMAX has had a surcharge on their product since way back in 2002, it does not matter if it is film or digital. IMAX does not charge a surcharge for 3D, the surcharge is there regardless if it is 2D or 3D.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 05-25-2014 03:02 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That may be true. I was mostly referring to the current generation of DLP "Imax" houses that have infiltrated multiplexes of late. And I believe that the one of these that I have actually visited (AMC Boston Common) does charge extra for 3D shows in that auditorium.

My point remains, though, that the exhibition business will kill itself in short order if it insists on continuing to alienate customers with nickel-and-dime surcharges and high prices overall.

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Buck Wilson
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From: St. Joseph MO, USA
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 - posted 05-26-2014 02:11 AM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
AMC Stubs program waives Fandango convenience fees which is a wise move.

I agree with all the surcharges and whatnot. It's getting a little crazy.

I'm thinking about it though... What if there were no surcharges? Everyone would flock to the 'premium' features, forcing the theater to widen that scale. [Smile]

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 05-26-2014 05:51 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Surcharges for "premium seating" have been around in venues like theaters of all sorts as long as I remember. The single-tiered seating that most multiplexes are still using, at least for their "vanilla theaters" has rather been a special case.

Still, I do think this will be a rather hard sell, it feels like a cheap money grab to me. Besides sitting in the center, which a lot of people don't prefer anyway, the surcharge offers nothing extra, like more leg room or more comfortable seats.

Also, it will be hard (and expensive) to enforce, especially if a show sells just a few seats. Do they send someone in every few minutes to check if nobody switched places?

I personally detest "convenience fees" for stuff like on-line ticketing and reserved seating. It's really utter B.S., because the "convenience" is going both ways, since they can now cut down on box office staff. People are doing them a favor by ordering on-line or buy their tickets via machines, this stuff ought to make a ticked cheaper, not more expensive...

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Mike Blakesley
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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 05-26-2014 08:58 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Jim Cassedy
The movie exhibition buisness, as
we know it, has a limited lifespan and is now in it's death throes anyway.

Eh. The movie business was supposed be killed by:

TV
Color TV
Cable TV
Video games (arcade version)
Satellite TV
HBO
Movies on video
Screen ads
High prices
Poor presentation
Movies on demand
Piracy
Talkative patrons
Video games (home version)
Cell phones being used in theaters
Video games (mobile version)
People putting their feet on the back of your seat
Digital cinema
3-D surcharges
People getting shot in a theater in Colorado
The shortened video window
PLF surcharges

...and it's not happened, so I don't think this latest wrinkle is going to pull the trigger either.

Does make you think about how much better business would be if we could erase a bunch of the irritations on the above list though.

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Terry Lynn-Stevens
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From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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 - posted 05-26-2014 09:44 PM      Profile for Terry Lynn-Stevens   Email Terry Lynn-Stevens   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
TV
Color TV
Cable TV
Video games (arcade version)
Satellite TV
HBO
Movies on video
Screen ads

Poor presentation
Movies on demand
Piracy
Talkative patrons
Video games (home version)
Cell phones being used in theaters
Video games (mobile version)
People putting their feet on the back of your seat

People getting shot in a theater in Colorado
The shortened video window


Most of these all together have had a serious impact on theater exhibition. Not all but most. You are ignorant to think that they have not had a serious impact.

What the chains, IMAX (together with the studios) have successfully figured out is that people are willing to pay more if a night out at the movies means it is an event, therefore they charge more. Dolby is now in on it with there new Atmos format and Cineplex is charging a premium surcharge for it.

I have been to some of the traditional one or two screen cinemas and I am sorry to say, these screens just don't cut it anymore. These screens really need to close up and head out for the pasture.

Last week we attended the VIP in Toronto, total cost was $85 and that was for two tickets, four alcoholic drinks, an appetizer and two main dishes. We had a great time out sitting in the ultra comfy leather chairs with foot rests, we were served at our seats, and it was adult only.

For a movie that I really want to see, I wouldn't waste my time watching it in a traditional, non-reserved seat cinema.

Premium experiences and the surcharge that goes with it is where theater exhibition is growing.

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Mike Blakesley
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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 05-26-2014 10:24 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Terry Lynn-Stevens
Most of these all together have had a serious impact on theater exhibition. Not all but most. You are ignorant to think that they have not had a serious impact.
Look, screwball, I never said they didn't have an impact. Show me where I said that. In fact I acknowledge that they DO have an impact. Go read the last sentence of my previous post again.

I said that those things have not KILLED the theater business like all the media pundits and other "experts" have repeatedly said they would. Try to read all the words and not make shit up.

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