Recognition & Reward

Return of Ancillary Revenue

If you're one of the millions who have already braved the crowds to experience the Star Wars: The Force Awakens this last weekend, you can't have missed all of the ancillary products and experience that accompany the theatrical release. Some movie theater operators have made exclusive agreements with Disney to sell licensed everything-from commemorative popcorn and drink containers to specially-named food and beverage items. Anyone for a cocktail called the Floating Yoda?

When it comes to the more popular releases like Star Wars, movie theater operators share in only a limited portion of the box office revenue. For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this share is estimated to be less than 40% of total box office receipts. And when you take into account the soaring costs associated with operating a theater, movie theater operators have had to get extremely creative in order to still make a profit. How do they do this? By listening to their guests, testing products and concepts, and then rolling them out-en masse-at a theater near you.

In theater lobbies, such innovations include getting creative with popcorn and drink combos and selling commemorative merchandise like an opening day Force Awakens T-shirt. But the innovations aren't simply limited to the lobby. Many operators have undergone a complete remodel of their auditoriums, trading in their traditional stadium-style seating format (pack 'em in so long as they can see the screen) for a more luxurious entertainment experience. AMC movie theaters describe their Fork & Screen experience this way:

Combining mouthwatering dining and convenient seat-side service with state-of-the-art digital projection and sound, Fork & Screen® ...takes "dinner and a movie" to a whole new level. And with comfortable reserved seating plus a personal call button for quick and easy assistance, it's the perfect choice for movie lovers looking for an enhanced cinema experience.

As we journey further and further down the pathway of the digital age, movie theater operators have found new ways to elevate the theater experience. Within our own attractions, what products and luxury experiences might we introduce as the catalyst to achieve similar success?

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- Mary Kay Ash