Trend: The movie theater business needs a new business model to be viable as the digital home becomes reality.
Mark Cuban describes how Landmark Theaters caters to its target audience, and why most movie theaters don't satisfy any target audience.
At Landmark Theaters we know who our demographic is. Its not kids 18-24 who are deciding whether to hang out at the mall or go to the movies. Its not people who are concerned with seeing the latest blockbuster. The 12mm and growing number of people who attend movies at a Landmark Theater are typically 25 plus years old, who love independent films from independent minds.
We try to be the Voice of Independent Film for the people who make movies, and the people who love to see those movies. That is our mindset. That is what our demographic wants.
Our job at Landmark is to go out and find those movies and to make the experience of watching those movies as unique and enjoyable as possible. It can be the decor of the theater. It might be offering adult beverages before, during and after the film. It may be offering the a DVD selection of the movies director so you dont have to scour the aisles of a huge retailer looking for a title they may not have. It may be offering the soundtrack of the movie, or the book the movie was based on. And starting with Bubble, it will include selling the DVD of the movie you just saw. Also starting with Bubble will be the rollout of Digital Cinema. Every single play of Bubble in our theaters will be digitally projected. We are using a mix of Sony 4k and TI based 2k projectors. We want our customers to have the best possible viewing experience with every single showing of this and future movies. No scratches, no pops, no fades, no problems with the presentation whether you see it the first day of release or the last showing 6 months later.
We have to create an environment that makes going to a movie at a Landmark Theater - fun, entertaining, relaxing, a good value and for a film fan, the best answer to the question, what do you want to do tonight.
I can and will offer my observations of the problems first run multiplexes have.
First of all, I dont think they know what business they are in any longer. It appears they believe they are in the business of showing the movies Hollywood gives them and praying that Hollywood makes good movies and spends enough money to drive people through the doors so they make some money on the boxoffice and concessions. They arent.
But thats not the biggest of their problems. Their biggest problem is that they dont care who their customer is, as long as a lot of people come. Which in turn makes it almost impossible to determine what business they are in.
I will explain.
The experience that a 16 year old expects is going to be completely different than what a 35 or 55 year old expects.
When a 16 year old goes to a movie, there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with answering your cellphone, talking back to the screen and texting your heart away during a movie. The movie is just there because its better than doing the same thing sitting or walking at the mall, or hanging in your buddys smelly bedroom again, listening to his mom yell at him.
All of the above drives anyone not in that demographic crazy. So when a couple of 35 year olds go to see King Kong, not only can you pretty much bet that they arent going to have a great experience during the showing of the movie, but they probably didnt have a great experience before they even got their seats.
They are probably already pissed because the stereos were blasting in the parking lot, the lines to the concession stands were filled with kids chit chattering and taking their good old time, while you wanted to get into the movie so you could talk to your wife or date. The whole reason you left the house to see a movie in the first place was to get away from kids.
People of different demographics have different expectations of the movie going experience. Trying to mix them only ends up making both mad.
It probably wouldnt be a bad idea for the multiplexs to tailor the experience to the appropriate audience.
Its also probably a good time to take steps to be paid for the role you play in promoting the sale of DVDs and TV. You already know that you platform movies and create demand for future sales. Your problem is that you dont get paid for it. DVD sales now exceed box office sales and you dont get a nickel of those DVD sales. Its time for that to change.