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Film lovers have always seen the movie theater as a very special kind of sanctuary, but in recent years - and especially in recent months - the security of that sanctuary has become compromised. Across the country, we have heard about multiple shootings that have taken place in cinemas, from Aurora, Colorado, to Lafayette, Louisiana, to Antioch, Tennessee. As a result, we've been forced to ask ourselves if we would be willing to pay more as consumers for better security at our theaters - and according to a recent study, there are many people who would answer that question in the affirmative.
Variety has published the results of a recent survey about security in movie theaters, and according to the numbers 48 percent of patrons are fine with paying $1 or more for measures such as metal detectors, and armed guards. It's worth noting that this number dropped to 23 percent when film-goers were asked if they would pay $2 or more - but that's still nearly a quarter of those surveyed saying that they feel the need to pay extra money to feel safe in a theater.
C4, a consumer research firm, conducted the survey, polling a total of 500 movie-goers from August 6th to the 7th. The trade report says that the numbers from this survey were higher than those that were analyzed after the Lafayette shooting. Highlighting an example, the number of people willing to pay $3 or more from better security jumped from 13 percent to 19 percent in the span of two weeks.
What's odd about these findings is the way they clash with the numbers regarding why people are hesitant to go to movie theaters. Instead of the top reason being the convenience of streaming services or lack of security security, numbers published in January said the top complaint is that the whole experience of going to see a film on the big screen has become too expensive. Based on both studies, it seems that consumers want to pay less for their tickets and food, but are willing to pay more for metal detectors and armed guards. That seems kind of terrible, doesn't it?
Of course, the survey results beg the question whether or not an extra dollar per patron would be enough to increase security in movie theaters, and it seems that the answer is a resounding no. As Ben Spergel, executive vice president of consumer insights at C4, explained,
The issue is that even an extra dollar wouldn’t cover what you need to do. People realize that they’re paying for security when they’re at an airport or a concert, but they don’t think about it when they’re paying for a $500 plane ticket. When they’re adding 30% to a $10 movie ticket, that can be a lot to take.
Where do you fit into this conversation? Given recent events, where does security factor into your feelings towards the movie theater experience?