Cineplex CEO says company open to ‘experiments’ with cheaper tickets – National

As audiences flock to theaters to see ‘Avatar: The Way of the Water’ on pricey Imax screens, Cineplex Inc. executive says he’s open to ‘experiments’ with cheaper tickets for some films if they can attract people who stay at home.

Chief executive Ellis Jacob said Canada’s biggest movie theater chain was looking at “different prices for different types of products,” which this month included a rare discount on tickets to ’80 For Brady’. “. The comedy speaks directly to seniors, a demographic that is reluctant to return to movies.

“We want to be accommodating to our customers and we want to get the right price for the opportunity,” Jacob said Tuesday as Cineplex reported fourth quarter results.

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Ticket prices have become a bigger priority for movie theater chains across North America as they seek to turn a profit after years of staggered closings, but bring audiences back in a struggling economy with many streaming alternatives.

During the past quarter, Cineplex relied on premium Imax and UltraAVX tickets to the “Avatar” sequel and other blockbusters to help reverse a loss.

The company reported a profit of $10.2 million at the end of the calendar year, compared to a loss of $21.8 million at the end of 2021. The results were equivalent to 16 cents per diluted share or 34 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenue totaled $350.1 million, up from $300 million a year earlier.

The sequel “Avatar” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” were bright spots of the period, which faced a drought of new films and moviegoers.

Click to play video: “Cineplex Theaters Reopen Across Canada During COVID-19 Pandemic”

Cineplex theaters reopen across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

That void showed in viewership, which fell to 9.2 million patrons from 10.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 when “Spider-Man: No Way Home” broke box office records.

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Concession revenue still managed to hit a new high of $8.93 per head as moviegoers gobbled up more expensive snacks, while box office revenue hit a record high of $13.06 per head. thanks to these high-priced tickets.

While some moviegoers are willing to pay for more expensive nights out, Jacob said lowering the cost of tickets might make sense in other cases, though it depends on the Hollywood title.

In the case of “80 For Brady,” which premiered Feb. 3, he says the film’s distributor Paramount Pictures asked Cineplex to sell Tuesday-priced tickets for any day of the week — a discount by 40%. Already discounted senior tickets have been reduced by approximately 13%.

The film stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and football quarterback Tom Brady, and is aimed directly at an older audience.

A similar discount was made by the American channel AMC which charged matinee prices for the film.

Also this week, AMC announced that it will soon be charging different ticket prices based on seat location inside the theater. The move immediately drew backlash from moviegoers, including actor Elijah Wood who tweeted that it would “penalize people” who couldn’t afford it.

While Jacob hasn’t ruled out a similar move at Cineplex, he said it’s not something the company is considering at this time and he intends to be “very careful” when it comes to it. considered such models.

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Cineplex got into the smaller-scale concept when it charged more for “premium seating” in the center of the auditorium in some of its more upscale locations. Those experiments were scrapped early in the pandemic, Jacob said, in part because people sat in other people’s “preferred” seats without paying for them.

“It’s hard to find your way around when the show has started and people are fighting for seats,” he added.

Cineplex hopes a new theater, dining and entertainment complex called Junxion will be a more effective way to boost sales and attract customers.

The hybrid venue opened in Winnipeg last December and features six auditoriums with reclining seats, an arcade, live entertainment space and dining options.

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