By Peter Cabranes
Let's be honest, we want to get back in our comfy (in some cases) theater seats at our favorite cineplex - but this year has provided quite a number of challenges. Big theater chains are on the brink of bankruptcy and in need of a steady stream of income. Will they provide further incentives or security for those willing to flock to the silver screen?
Take AMC for example - throughout this global pandemic they have been wrought with constant rumors of bankruptcy and the need to find a solid investor to keep them afloat. Plus when they decided to reopen they announced the clever idea of 'masks are optional' and the internet showed them how crass of a decision that was (given the climate). So our friends at AMC are in need of some loving - they need you to attend their movie houses but will you? What will they need to provide in order for you to feel safe?
At the top of the list - safety! Blanket statement of the decade but safety covers a lot for good reason. You want to feel safe from the virus, from a shooter and much more - I can trust AMC with that. Cleanliness - again I have only been to ONE AMC where I felt dirty but the company remains solid on that front as well. Pricing - now here is where it can become tricky. What will studios and theaters demand from us. Remember, studios set the prices or at least make majority of profit from ticket sales hence the astronomical concession prices - in which theaters claim 100% profit. But will they raise ticket prices to help balance those spreadsheets or will they possibly lower prices to adjust to the new economic climate for most moviegoers? I suppose the safe answer will be to expect the same ticket prices but don't be shocked if popcorn now sets you back $15 for a large.
Incentives can go a long way for the initial 6 months of reopening. A free poster with your movie ticket or possibly free popcorn. This can certainly bring people back people in numbers but at the end of the day the fear of pandemic is still relevant on the minds of many.
Big chains like Regal, AMC, and Cinemark can get away with providing large incentives but the smaller theaters will struggle tenfold once reopening commences. Support your local theaters! Pay the extra - trust me you'll be rewarded.
2020 has provided many of us a new look at the way we live our lives and how we spend the money we have. One thing that shouldn't change is how we attend the theater - as long as we practice simple safety precautions movie going will remain the best Friday night activity for millions of us. In my honest opinion - theaters will not need to provide me any incentive other than knowing I can enjoy a quiet movie in a big room with excellent sound and a clean environment. We'll see you at the theater (whenever that'll be).