Cineplex CEO says company is willing to ‘experiment’ with cheaper tickets – National

While audiences flocked back to theaters to see “Avatar: The Way of Water” on expensive Imax screens, the head of Cineplex Inc. says he is willing to “experiment” with cheaper tickets for some movies if they can attract people back home.

Chief Executive Officer Ellis Jacob said Canada’s largest cinema chain is looking at “different prices for different types of products”, this month including a rare sale on “80s movie tickets”. For Brady”. The comedy is aimed directly at the elderly, a demographic that is reluctant to return to the movies.

“We want to serve our guests, and we want the right price for the opportunity,” Jacob said Tuesday when Cineplex reported fourth-quarter results.

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Ticket prices have become a bigger concern for movie theater chains across North America as they seek to boost profits after years of faltering closures, but keep audiences coming back amid the economy. struggling with many streaming alternatives.

In the most recent quarter, Cineplex relied on premium Imax and UltraAVX tickets for the “Avatar” sequels and other blockbusters to turn around losses.

The company reported a profit of $10.2 million at the end of the calendar year, compared with a loss of $21.8 million at the end of 2021. The result equates to 16 cents per diluted share or 34 cents per share diluted one year prior.

Total revenue came in at $350.1 million, up from $300 million a year earlier.

The sequels to “Avatar” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” are bright spots in the face of a scarcity of new movies and audiences.

Click to play video: 'Cinemas reopening across Canada amid COVID-19 pandemic'

Cineplex cinemas reopen across Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic

That gap shows in viewership, which fell to 9.2 million customers from 10.2 million in Q4 2021 when “Spider-Man: No Way Home” broke box office records.

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Franchise sales still managed to hit new highs of $8.93 per person as audiences devoured more expensive snacks, while box office receipts hit a record $13.06 per person thanks to That high-priced ticket.

While some moviegoers are willing to pay for more expensive night outs, Jacob said the reduction in ticket prices could make sense in other cases, though that depends on the Hollywood title.

In the case of 80 For Brady, which opens on February 3, he said film distributor Paramount Pictures has asked Cineplex to sell tickets for Tuesdays for any day of the week — 40% off. Discounted senior tickets have been reduced to about 13% lower quantity.

It stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and soccer midfielder Tom Brady, and is aimed squarely at older audiences.

Similar discounts have been made by US chain AMC that charged the morning price for the movie.

Also this week, AMC announced that it will soon charge different ticket prices depending on the seating position inside the theater. The move was immediately met with backlash from moviegoers, including actor Elijah Wood, who tweeted that it would “punish those” who couldn’t afford it.

While Jacob doesn’t rule out a similar move at Cineplex, he says it’s not something the company is looking at right now, and he plans to be “very careful” when looking at models so.

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Cineplex merges with this concept on a smaller scale, charging more for “premium seating” in the center of the auditorium in some of the more upscale venues. Jacob said those experiments were canceled early in the pandemic, in part because people were sitting in other people’s “premium” chairs without paying for them.

He added: “It was difficult to navigate once the show had started and everyone was scrambling for seats.

Cineplex hopes its new theater, dining and entertainment complex, called Junxion, will be a more successful way to drive revenue and attract customers.

The hybrid venue opened in Winnipeg last December and features six auditoriums with reclining chairs, video game zones, live entertainment and dining options.

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