Movie theaters are in near-constant states of innovation these days, with theater chains all around the nation trying various ways to get audiences back into theaters more often. While cinemas with bars and recliner seats are nice, there are some other easy ways I think that theaters could innovate in 2019 and make the overall movie experience better for a whole lot of people.
Movie theaters tend to run cold to accommodate large crowds, or possibly save money. Whatever the case, theaters can get chilly, and with luxury seating becoming commonplace in theaters, heated seats are a simple luxury that could easily fix a chilly theater. As is the case with most heated seats, they could be optional to have on or off, so everyone could somewhat control their level of comfort without affecting others. Voila, no more freezing in theaters.
For all the food and drink that movie theaters are serving, it's surprising sushi hasn't been offered by more cinemas. Rolls can be pre-packaged and chilled in advance, and theatergoers could get their rolls served in nacho bowls with soy sauce in the cheese bowl. Sushi is delicious, filling and doesn't make a lot of noise, so it's an ideal theater snack. Patrons already pay sushi prices for subpar snacks, so why not actually pay for quality food?
Pre-Screening Mobile Games
In a world where pre-roll theater programming is now the norm, it's time for theaters to offer some additional pre-film entertainment. Mobile games that allow patrons to compete against each other in movie trivia or other kinds of competitions would be great and make the barrage of ads folks are hit with before the film bearable. Plus, it would drain the phone batteries of those in the theater, which may encourage them to stay off them during the film.
In-Theater Discounts For Future Screenings Of Upcoming Films
Less people are going to the movies, so theaters should focus on ways to bring those who attend back there as soon as possible. One way of doing that may be by offering discounts of yet to be released films while attendees are in the theater. This will encourage moviegoers to purchase more tickets and come back for films they may not have seen had they not gotten a deal on it.
Required Reserved Seating For Parties Of 6 Or More
It's time we address an elephant in the room of the theater experience and call out the people who stroll in five minutes prior to a movie's start and are flabbergasted that they can't find seating for themselves next to the eight others they came with. Theaters could simplify this issue by asking groups buy in advance and have sections specifically reserved for large parties who wish to sit together. Everyone wins.
Order Ahead On Concession Snacks
Movie concession lines are the worst and by far one of the ways many theater chains still need to innovate. The ability to order via an app or tablet would be wonderful and allow patrons to order and go onto bathroom trips, grab seats, and other activities that waiting in line to order snacks prevent. A text could inform folks when their order is ready, and they just pick it up with no fuss.
Cut Down On Concession Offerings
Another reason ordering snacks takes so long is because people have way too many options for theater snacks. The list of menu options at theaters has grown astronomically long, and 2019 needs to be the year that theater chains go through and slice their menu offerings in half to streamline the process and help people make up their minds sooner. That said, I'm still completely fine with sushi being an option, so don't get this twisted.
More Event Screenings
Theaters have gotten better at offering more anniversary screenings of films, special events and concerts, but things could improve. Finding a participating theater for some of these events can be hard to do in even big cities, and those in smaller towns likely won't drive hours to another city's cinema to attend these events that are sometimes more expensive than a movie. More accessibility to special events may draw more people, and increase their odds of returning.
Better Rewards For Good Theater Etiquette
Some theater chains offer incentives on their apps that allow viewers to gain rewards for good theater etiquette such as leaving their phone on silent. The rewards for doing so are ok, but a chance at bigger stuff may encourage more people to participate. After all, trying to train attendees to have better manners will probably make the experience better overall, which will again encourage folks to return to the theater more frequently.
Hosting Events That Tie-In With Movies
Many theaters I've been in recently have a space for birthday parties, but rarely have I seen or even heard of a birthday party happening within one. Instead, cinemas could utilize that space for local fan groups to schedule group screenings, and then have a space to hang and discuss the film after. With theaters now offering alcohol, this seems like an obvious way to tie the two in.
Trash Baskets On Chairs
It's time to stop relying on the average cinema attendee to dump their trash in the bin after the film ends. Disposable trash bags attached to the cupholder would be a quick way for people to get rid of trash without making a mess, and ensure the next round of folks don't walk into a sticky mess a worker didn't catch. Once the screening is done, a worker simply pulls the bag and replaces it.
Post-Credits Scene Warnings
CinemaBlend will always let readers know when to stick around for a post-credits scene, but in those rare moments where a loyal reader may forget to check ahead of time, a short message that confirms audiences should stick around for another scene would stop the general confusion that ensues when the credits start. That way everyone can chill in their seat or leave as opposed to clogging up hallways and standing to see if one appears.