Regal Entertainment Group has a plan in place to make up for lost revenue, and it’s going to hit you harder in your movie-going wallet/purse when it comes to buying a ticket to more popular films.
The dynamic pricing experiment is on the way in 2018, and it’s going to be up to you to make sure this does not become the norm.
First off, what exactly is dynamic pricing?
Well, it basically shifts the price of a ticket based on how in-demand it is. Admission would no longer be one firm dollar amount. Instead, you may find yourself dropping a few more bucks to see something like Star Wars or the latest effort in the respective Marvel or DC Universes than you would for something smaller in scale. By that same token, if there’s a movie not doing so well at the box office, Regal may drop the ticket price at the box office for it, in order to encourage you to come out and give it a look.
Working with Atom Tickets LLC, Regal is aiming to boost their receipts after reporting a 12% drop in revenue from the previous year and seeing their shares fall 21% as the second-largest theater chain in the U.S. (AMC, #1 on the list, has fallen 58%).
But how did we get here? Why did attendance drop off the table so swiftly? Could it be a poor slate across the board from the studios, filled with more sequels, more reboots and more uninteresting fare that has kept people away? Or could it be that the theater-going experience has become such a hassle for those of us who actually are willing to spend money on a number of movies that interest us, what with the talking and the texting and the constant shine of light from a phone being used someplace, that we don’t want to even bother anymore? I’d argue it’s a mixture of both, if we really want to look at the major factors that have contributed to the attendance problem theaters are facing.
But neither studios nor theaters are looking in the mirror to find a proper solution, to make better movies to prompt you to go out or to improve the experience you get when you do buy a ticket. Instead, their plan, at least in the example of Regal, is to milk more from those of you still willing to go.
Regal is aiming to test dynamic pricing in enough markets where they can statistically determine the success or failure of this experiment, and I’d highly suggest doing what you can to send the right message that this is a bad idea.
After all, different prices for different movies is only the beginning, and I’d turn to Disney World of all places to prove why the slippery slope argument is more than just a hypothetical.
Not too long ago, Disney Parks introduced dynamic pricing. They began altering their admission prices based on when crowds might be more likely to appear at places like the Magic Kingdom. So, if you wanted to check out the Magic Kingdom on a Saturday in the middle of June, you’d wind up paying a higher price for your day than if you happened to have a Wednesday to spare in the middle of September.
Oh, Disney is doing fine business-wise, and you can bet they are cleaning up with their dynamic pricing – something Regal is aiming to duplicate… but is it beneficial to the consumer?
Apply this principle to going to the movies. It: Chapter 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on September 6, 2019, after the first installment did quite well for Warner Bros. Regal now knows they have a bonafide hit coming to their venues. They also know everyone wants to see it as soon as they possibly can. What do they then do? They make sure you’re paying a premium for prime showtimes during opening weekend, in order to be among the first to see it. Oh, sure… If you want to wait until the following Tuesday to catch the film in the afternoon, you can do so at a decent price, but they’re jacking up what you’re plunking down for a ticket for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Do you have the willpower to hold out? Or are movies your drug and Regal is going to cash in on your inability to just say no?
Your desire to see certain movies shouldn’t be punished. It should be respected.
Let Regal know that.