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Old 03-26-2008, 08:12 AM   #1
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Would You Pay $35 For A Movie Ticket?

The food is extra

variety.com


Filmgoers get a taste of the good life
Luxury exhib chain plans $35 film tickets
By MARC GRASER

A recession may be looming, but a group of investors thinks Americans are ready to pony up $35 for a movie ticket.

Village Roadshow Ltd., Act III, Lambert Entertainment and the Retirement Systems of Alabama pension fund have partnered to bring the luxury cinema circuit Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas to the U.S.

The partners will spend $200 million to build 50 theaters nationwide over the next five years, with the first two venues set to open in South Barrington, a suburb of Chicago, and the Seattle suburb of Redmond in October. Others are planned for Fairview, Texas, near Dallas-Fort Worth, and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Each complex will sport theaters featuring 40 reclining armchair seats with footrests, digital projection and the capability to screen 2-D and 3-D movies, as well as a lounge and bar serving cocktails and appetizers, a concierge service and valet parking.

But the circuit will especially push its culinary offerings -- made-to-order meals like sushi and other theater-friendly foods from on-site chefs (a service button at each seat calls a waiter). Moviegoers will have to pay extra for any food they order, however.

The Burbank-based company's hoping to attract 10 million "upscale and affluent" consumers per year to its theaters that will be housed in high-end shopping centers and malls. Each complex will typically house eight screens.

"It's a new way to go to the movies," said Graham Burke, managing director and CEO of Village Roadshow Ltd. "It's like what Mercedes is to a Toyota or like flying first class in an airplane."

Village Roadshow founded the Gold Class Cinemas chain in Australia in 1997. It has since expanded to other countries, including Singapore and Greece.

Company execs said bringing the chain to the U.S. is a "natural extension" of the brand.

"The demand for luxury moviegoing in the U.S. is very strong, and by working with our partners, we are delivering on that demand in a way never before experienced by the American consumer," said Kirk Senior, CEO of Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas.

In addition to its initial complexes in Illinois, Washington, Texas and Arizona, company also plans to build in California, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania and New York.

Gold Class Cinemas won't be the first luxury theater circuit in the U.S. Regal Entertainment, Cinemark, National Amusements and Sundance Cinemas offer similar services, including high-end food and concierges, at much cheaper prices of around $12-$18 per ticket.

Idea is that plushing up the current moviegoing experience will encourage auds that typically stay home to watch movies via their pricey home theaters to venture out again. But it's also a way for exhibs to make more money: Concession sales are kept by theater chains, while a little more than half of each ticket sold is split with the studios. Selling sushi and a glass of wine will command higher prices than popcorn and soda.

There are an estimated 300 high-end multiplexes operating in the U.S.

If the recession is stressing out some businesses, exhibitors aren't sweating just yet. Entertainment has long been shown to be recession-proof. And that's exactly the attitude Village Roadshow is taking.

"This is a top-end experience," Burke said. "People want to get away from their blues. I don't think the recession will affect it one iota."
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:00 AM   #2
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No. If I was going to spend that sort of money on a ticket, it would be for a concert.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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Hell no.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:02 AM   #4
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A little bit silly. I'll have to pass.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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Originally posted by corianderstem
Hell no.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:15 AM   #6
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If the tickets are that price, I wonder how much the consession stand is
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:24 AM   #7
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Not a chance. If the food were great and were included, i might do it once. But $35 for a lazyboy & fancy decor? No way.
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:51 PM   #8
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There were similar cries of astonishment when Gold Class opened in Australia - but they are clever. They have only opened them in the wealthier burbs here and in marquee sites like the casinos, etc.

They only tend to be a couple of screens - so they only play the big releases. Nearly all do massive business now. They are the perfect end to a top date. People go for the event films - I saw 'Star Wars Ep 3' on opening night at a Gold Class... they are overpriced and corny but will be hugely popular.
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:15 PM   #9
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So someone could be ordering / being served food while you are watching the movie? Wouldn't that be a distraction?

No I won't be paying $35. I barely pay the $10 that it is now (I think it's about $10 )
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:17 PM   #10
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That's absurd.

We have a couple of theatres here where you can pay a bit extra for nicer seating, etc, but you're talking about maybe $16 tickets not $35.

I barely go to the movies as it is, so frankly they're free to charge whatever the hell they want. I almost exclusively rent.
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:04 PM   #11
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Fancy food at a movie would be weird.

There's a theater in one of the casinos in my area that has a full bar at the concession stand and you can bring your drinks in while you watch the movie.

Beer and popcorn
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:00 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Lila64
So someone could be ordering / being served food while you are watching the movie? Wouldn't that be a distraction?
Maybe have to order it before the movie and they serve before the movie, like the dinner theaters they have now. I can't imagine anyone would pay $35 to listen to people making orders during the movie, that would be like what you have to put up with at the regular ones with people talking and texting and all of that. Maybe there's a pre-movie menu and you pick out what you want and the button just calls them to deliver. In case you change your mind or something, I don't know

I would imagine kids under 18 or whatever age are excluded from the $35 theaters. Some people are willing to pay that kind of money for the perks and the kid free aspect. Then again some adults behave worse than kids do in movie theaters. I wonder if the theater is more strict about the behavior when people are paying that kind of money.
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:09 PM   #13
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The concept is already perfected (and the tickets are pretty cheap).
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by thatsnotmypuppy
There were similar cries of astonishment when Gold Class opened in Australia - but they are clever. They have only opened them in the wealthier burbs here and in marquee sites like the casinos, etc.

They only tend to be a couple of screens - so they only play the big releases. Nearly all do massive business now. They are the perfect end to a top date. People go for the event films - I saw 'Star Wars Ep 3' on opening night at a Gold Class... they are overpriced and corny but will be hugely popular.
we hardly ever go to the movies but when we do we usually see looong movies. It's a lot nicer to sit in a comfy chair with only 18 other people max. You don't have to put up with stupid kids or people talking all the way through.
Usually you order your food before and you can choose when it's brought to you. It's no more distracting than people getting up to go to the toilet. The chairs are grouped in pairs but at least a metre away from anyone else.

The only downside is that the food in our gold class is crappy and really expensive. We usually just take popcorn and a drink.


It is really expensive but it's only once or twice a year at the most for us.

http://www.villagecinemas.com.au/Cinemas/Gold-Class.htm
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:12 PM   #15
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I don't even like paying $6 to go to the movies (that was the price the last time I went to the local cineplex - it's been so long since I've gone it may have changed since then). Unless it is some huge epic thing like LOTR or Star Wars where you want to see it on as big a screen as possible, I can't think of a single reason to go to the movies anymore when I can rent the DVD three or four months after it comes out in the theater and I can watch it on my own TV in my own house with my own food and not have to worry about whether some idiots next to me are going to yak all through the movie.
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