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For all of the technical advancements that have taken place in the film industry over the years, the theater experience has remained relatively unchanged. We have seen color and sound become standard aspects of the silver screen, but the basic act of paying a flat rate for a movie ticket is still the standard way of doing business. However, that may soon change in a fundamental way, as Regal Entertainment Group is about to test a new ticketing system that will allow movie theaters to charge more for good movies, and less for bad movies.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Regal Entertainment Group is testing a new system that would fluctuate the cost of movie tickets based on demand. In practice, this would mean that movie theater patrons would pay a higher price for leading blockbuster hits (think Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Captain America: Civil War), while less popular films and flops would garner a lower price tag. To implement this change, Regal Entertainment Group is partnering with app developer Atom Tickets LLC. The companies have previously worked together on apps to streamline the process of pre-ordering concessions, and this new system of dynamic ticket purchases will reportedly go into effect early next year.
The clear intention here is to increase audience willingness to actually see movies in the theater, as attendance has consistently waned in recent years. Reasons for this decline in attendance varies from consumer to consumer, but amid many of the reasons (which include movie selection, safety concerns, and availability of content on streaming services), cost has become a significant factor in the decision to avoid the theatrical experience. Several chains have employed new methods of driving up attendance and revenue -- such as a boom in alcohol sales and better seats -- and the dynamic pricing system seems like the latest attempt to change the game on a relatively old system. Merely getting average moviegoers to attend one extra movie per year could reportedly have a profound impact on the industry, so these chains are exploring every possible angle.
It will prove interesting to see how this supply and demand approach to theater attendance works with fans. While some members of the audience may potentially object to being forced to pay more for a mainstream hit, the emphasis on charging higher prices for more well-received movies could embolden studios to produce high-quality content. There's no way of knowing exactly how this change will be received by consumers until it goes into effect, so we will just have to wait and see.
Regal Entertainment Group will begin its rollout of this new dynamic pricing system early next year, and CinemaBlend will bring you more updates related to it as it develops. Until then, make sure to check out our 2017 movie premiere guide and our 2018 movie premiere guide to get a better idea of what films are on the horizon.