Cineplex cuts ticket prices for ’80 For Brady’ but CEO says it’s an ‘experiment’

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The Canadian Press

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Posted February 7, 2023 • Last updated 4 hours ago • 3 minutes reading

Join the conversation From left: ’80 for Brady’ cast members Rita Moreno, Tom Brady, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda pose together at the film’s premiere on Tuesday, 31 January, 2023, at the Regency Village Theater in Los. Angeles. Photo by Chris Pizzello/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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TORONTO — As audiences flock back to theaters to see “Avatar: The Walk of Water” on expensive Imax screens, the head of Cineplex Inc. he says he is open to “experimenting” with cheaper tickets for some films, if they can lure back people who are staying at home.

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CEO Ellis Jacob said Canada’s largest movie chain was considering “different prices for different types of products,” which included a rare discount on 80 For Brady tickets this month. The comedy is aimed squarely at the elderly, a demographic reluctant to return to the cinema.

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“We want to accommodate our guests and we want to be priced right for the opportunity,” Jacob said Tuesday as Cineplex reported its fourth-quarter results.

Ticket pricing has become more of a focus for movie chains across North America as they try to turn a profit after years of staggered closures but keep audiences coming back in a battered economy with plenty of entertainment options. streaming.

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During the most recent quarter, Cineplex relied on premium Imax and UltraAVX tickets for the “Avatar” sequel and other blockbusters to offset losses.

The company reported earnings of $10.2 million at the end of the calendar year, compared to a loss of $21.8 million at the end of 2021. The results were 16 cents per diluted share, or 34 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenue was $350.1 million, up from $300 million last year.

The sequel “Avatar” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” were bright spots during this period, which faced a drought of new films and admissions at the box office.

That gap was evident in viewers, which dropped to 9.2 million customers from 10.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 as Spider-Man: No Way Home broke box office records.

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Concession receipts hit a new high of $8.93 per person as moviegoers splurged on more expensive snacks, while box office receipts hit a record $13.06 per person , with those high priced tickets.

While some moviegoers are willing to pay for pricier nights, Jacob said lowering ticket prices could make sense in other cases, although it would depend on the Hollywood title.

In the case of 80 For Brady, which opened Feb. 3, he said the film’s distributor, Paramount Pictures, asked Cineplex to sell tickets at Tuesday prices for each day of the week. — 40 percent discount. Tickets for the elderly that were already discounted were reduced by a smaller amount of around 13 percent.

Movie stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and football quarterback Tom Brady are aimed squarely at an older audience.

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A similar discount was given by the American chain AMC, which charged matinee prices for the film.

Also this week, AMC announced that it will soon charge different ticket prices depending on where the seat is in the theater. This move was met with immediate backlash from moviegoers, including actor Elijah Wood, who tweeted that he would “punish people” who can’t stand it.

While Jacob did not rule out a similar move at Cineplex, he said it is something the company is not currently considering and that he intends to be “very cautious” when considering such models.

Cineplex dabbled with the concept on a smaller scale when it charged more for “premium seats” in the center of the auditorium at some of its higher-end locations. Those experiments were stopped early in the pandemic, Jacob said, in part because people were sitting in other people’s “first” seats without paying for them.

“It is difficult to navigate when the show has started and people are fighting for seats,” he added.

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

The hybrid venue opened in Winnipeg last December and features six reclining auditoriums, an arcade, a live entertainment area and dining options.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 7, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CGX)

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