October 29 2017

Regal plans to test dynamic ticket pricing in 2018

The argument of whether or not you should head to the movies on opening night may get a bit more complex in 2018.

Regal Entertainment Group is preparing to test what is being called ‘dynamic pricing’ at select locations in 2018. Speaking on the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Regal CEO Amy Miles said, “This test could be the first step towards a pricing model that drives incremental revenue in peak periods and incremental attendance in non-peak periods.” She added. “Changes to the historical pricing structure have often been discussed but rarely tested in our industry, and we’re excited to learn even more about how pricing changes impact customer behavior.”

This concept is an intriguing one as 2017 comes to a close and sees the year-to-date box office results down more than 5 percent. Barring a massive surge in the waning weeks of the year, this could be the first down year since 2014. This is also a bit of a reaction to the launch of MoviePass, a service that allows you to pay $10 a month to see up to one movie per day.

While many have suspected this could mean that big movies will cost more to see, it could also mean the opposite. Should you be paying as much to see Amityville: The Awakening as you do to see Thor: Ragnarok? Probably not. Just as you don’t pay as much to see certain bands as others, there might be something to dynamic pricing at the theater.

You should also remember, theaters make the majority of their money from concessions. The more bodies in the theater, the more tubs of popcorn that they sell. Additionally, even if they are making only 10 percent off of a film, the more tickets sold could also mean that much more in revenue to them.

It’s an intriguing notion, and one I plan to keep an eye on. I just hope they don’t go with a plan of “Opening night for a blockbuster film now costs 10 percent more than week three.”

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