Techdirt recently wrote about some of the dilemmas facing movie theater owners. I thought I’d give away a few of my secret ideas. The rest stay in my head until some theater owner pays me for them.

I don’t want to give away every idea of mine, but since you are on the subject… here’s what theater owners need to do to fight back — and quit blaming Hollywood.

1. First realize we are in a ADHD society. Movie times like 7:40, 7:55, etc are for the 1960’s, not the year 2010. First theater owner who can GUARANTEE that every movie starts on EVERY top of the hour wins the city. No more calling those ridiculous recordings, looking at tiny invisible newspapers ads (who reads the papers?), and surfing your favorite ticket site (which is sometimes wrong). You just show up at 4:00 and pick a movie. Simple - and no advance planning needed.

2. Fee-based movies. Superman Returns should be $10.00. Waking Ned Devine - $3.00. Also simple. Why in the world a theater would sell $4.50 matinee tickets for a blockbuster (no pun intended) like Mission Impossible III the day after its midnight release which was sold out on four screens is beyond any logical business sense. Then, movies could pull people in long after a release - “Superman Returns now only $2.00!”.

3. Keep the ads in the pre-movie slideshows. We don’t mind them and if we get there a bit early, no problem. But having to watch ads from Verizon and Coke for 6 minutes before the previews even start - that is kind of lame and makes us think twice about our time commitments — and our nice DVD players back home.

4. Play a few Classics. I hate going to a theater to see a movie to discover that I’ve seen the only two “good” movies out - and the rest are children’s movies, lame movies, a few low-budget horror flicks, and a documentary. I’d rather see a really good film from 10 or 20 years ago on the big screen than that stuff. Run a few oldie’s but goodies (especially ones that would benefit from a big screen). Don’t tell me Braveheart wouldn’t sell out a few shows.

5. Someone has to think of a better admissions system than the present one. It was developed over 50 years ago. Standing in line to buy a ticket, to stand in line to hand it to some kid (who tells us to go “right” or “left” - like we can’t read), so that we can stand in line at the concession stand? Come on. Where’s the innovation? One local theater finally combined the ticket line with the concession line (a decent improvement - buy everything at once), but we still have to take out tickets for them to tear - while holding popcorn and a drink. How often do they REALLY want us to come visit? Make your guests comfortable.

6. Do you know how much time and money is spent… counting money? Theaters have only slightly less cash than a large grocery store. If they want to save money, stop taking cash. Give people an incentive to pay with debit or credit cards. $1.00 more for cash tickets. Easy. You’ll be counting $50 each day - instead of $5,000. No risk of theft, either.

Technorati : DVD sales, movies, theaters, tickets

Posted in: Management & Ideas