Some movie theaters have finally realized that hey, maybe it's not just the quality of the movies keeping audiences away, but the quality of the theater experience. A Mercury News article (via The Risky Biz Blog) lists some of the attempts theaters are making to lure audiences: reserved seating, kid-free screenings where alcohol is served, and free popcorn. A sidebar to the article notes that some theaters are returning to incentives used in the 1950s when television decreased theater attendance: giveaways, gimmicks like 3D, and live accompaniments such as improv groups.

Canadian theaters face the same problems. The Motion Picture Theater Association of Canada recently recommended that theaters consider hosting non-movie events, such as fashion shows and screenings of sports events. As Erik reported last month, U.S. theater associations have already recommended similar theater use.

Some of these initiatives sound great. However, I think theaters' plans to jam cell-phone signals in theaters will be a big bust. Parents on a night away from the kids want their phones to work in case of an emergency. And some of us just plain don't like theaters messing with our cell-phone signals, even if we do turn the phones off or switch them to vibrate-only during movies. Finally, I notice no theater or association in these articles has mentioned pre-movie ads, which keep me away from certain theater chains whenever possible. Perhaps providing audiences with a comfortable atmosphere, instead of treating them like a marketing demographic, would draw more crowds.
categories Movies, Cinematical