Theater Trends Effect On Small Market City Theaters

It has been a while since movies only had the option of seeing a regular 2D movie. That was back in the time where ticket prices were an average of $4.23. Yes there were some movies being released in 3D way back in the day but the quality wasn’t where it is now and it didn’t happen that much. Proceed on into present day and there’s not only have a bevy of 3D movies being released, there are also IMAX theaters, dine-in theaters with more comfortable seating are becoming more prevalent. Not only are the theaters themselves getting updated more often, but how to buy tickets is veering away from just buying them at the box office and concession stand areas are becoming more of a self-serve system. If you’re in Ohio, visit AMC Easton Town Center 30 Movie Theater to see for yourself.

The growth of the theater industry has gotten the attention of many theaters, even ones in smaller market cities. In Athens, Ohio, the Athena Grand movie theater is one of those small market city movie theaters that have been affected by the trends of the movie theater industry. The Athena Grand is an independently run theater that has only been around since 2005 and with that, having to deal with these new trends would seem to be problematic. Consumers in Athens could begin to see what is being offered at other theaters and ask why they aren’t getting the same options.

Athena Grand owner Rick Frame said he has been paying attention to the new trends of the theater industry but doesn’t feel all the trends would be beneficially to the theater.

Frame said, “We have certainly looked into these dine-in movie theaters and we don’t feel that our market that we’re in could support that,”

The dine-in theater trend, in particular, is one of the newer trends that is expanding throughout the theater industry and Rick Frame is probably right to not be ready to follow suit. Based off a poll I conducted about how people feel about dine-in theaters, there was no clear concise majority feeling. 37.5% of people polled love dine-in theaters, 37.5% have never been to one and 25% think they are alright. Below are comments from two individuals on how they feel about dine-in theaters:

Sonya Gordon says:

September 24, 2013 at 1:00 am

My first and only time for both dine in. Surprising the food at the dine was yummy. I ate it so quickly I embarrassed myself.

Chelsea Gordon says:

September 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I have been to the dine-in movie and I think it is overpriced and you do not get a lot of food, but it is good.

One Athens resident and avid movie goer, Michael, won’t seem to have a problem with Frames stance on new additions at the moment.

“I guess I would have to, like, see what the intention is or what would be put in here maybe,” he said. “But I guess I’ll just have to say no because I think it would add a little too much.”

The Athena Grand has shown that the need to adapt to some of the new trends to stay profitable and relevant in the theater industry. The theater also has followed the trend of giving the consumer different options by adding unique viewing features.

Frame explained his theaters features by saying, “We’ve kept up with all the technology coming out. We show a lot of what they call alternative content that’s not your normal everyday movie experience. We show the Metropolitan Opera live on Saturday afternoons when it’s available. We show a lot of the old movies that’s been redone.”

Some of the technology Frame is speaking of is making his screens 100% digital, able to play 3D films for some, and having the latest sound systems. According to another poll I conducted, converting 3D capability screens seemed like a good move because 87.5% of the people surveyed said they loved 3D movies or thought they were alright. Someone from the other 12.5% made this comment to back up there stance:

missbelladia (@missbelladia) says:

September 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I don’t care for 3D movies. The fact i have to wear glasses to watch something doesn’t appeal to me. It takes away from my experience. I don’t care for it. And I tend to not notice the 3D after a while.

The Athena Grand sold out a live screening of Kirk Cameron’s new movie ‘Unstoppable’ this past week, showing that the adoption of showing alternative content is a trend that is working for it. This might mean smaller market city movie theaters don’t have to follow all the theater industry’s trends to the letter but instead do like Frame says and, “Offer a lot more than just your average movie theater.”


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