The idea of theater chains offering different ticket prices for different movies has been kicked around for years.
It’s the age-old question: Would you be more willing to go to the movies to see something that’s a dumpster fire if the ticket were dirt cheap?
And now it looks like “dynamic pricing” is going to be put to the test.
Regal Cinemas, one of the largest theater chains in the country, announced on Tuesday that it will test the concept in 2018 by charging higher prices for hit movies, and lower prices for flops.
“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,” Amy Miles, CEO of Regal, said Tuesday on a call with analysts, according to Bloomberg.
It’s a model movie ticket app Atom Tickets has been lobbying theaters to try out.
The big question, though, in how far the “dynamic pricing” will go. What will constitute as a bomb? A big budget studio movie that doesn’t perform well, like Warner Bros.’ “Geostorm?” Or an independent film that will likely be seen by more people on streaming services than in theaters?
Regal could potentially see empty seats in its theaters for both types of movies, but should an indie suffer if it’s not bringing in a mass audience?
Business Insider contacted Regal for some answers but did not get an immediate response.
It’s obvious that movie theater chains have to start thinking outside the box.
Regal reported on Tuesday that its revenue dropped 12% from a year earlier, to $716 million. A major reason is that many movies movies have performed poorly in the last year, adding to pressure from great content on TV and streaming.
Another hoped “game changer” to the movie business is MoviePass, the service that allows one-a-day admission to theaters for $10 a month. However, Miles also said in the call on Tuesday that Regal won’t be sharing revenue with MoviePass.