Ask the Audience: Dine-In Theatres

Ask the Audience
Ask the Audience is a monthly feature from Film Journal International and National CineMedia (NCM) that allows you to ask an audience of 5,000 frequent moviegoers, known as NCM’s Behind the Screens panel, the pressing questions of our industry.
We all know that the moviegoing experience is constantly evolving, and one of the major developments over the past several years has been the rise of dine-in theatres. It takes the classic “dinner and a movie” combination and houses it in one convenient (and profitable) location. In fact, 45% of the Behind the Screens panelists say that the main reason they visit dine-in theatres is because they appreciate the convenience of being able to eat, drink, and watch a movie at the same time and place. But let’s dive a little deeper in to how moviegoers compare dine-in theatres to standard theatres, and what could be done to continue to evolve the experience. It’s time to ask the audience.
63% of the Behind the Screens panelists have visited a dine-in theatre. When we asked the other 37% why they had not, 60% said it was simply because they did not have one available in their area, though adults over 55 were more likely than their younger counterparts to say that they have not visited because they prefer to dine elsewhere. When we asked those who have visited a dine-in theatre to rate their experience, 62% did so positively, with the average rating falling at 3.78 on scale from 1-5. 53% attend with their spouse or significant other, though women were more likely than men to visit with a group of friends.
Though 57% of the panelists say that the dine-in experience is superior to that of a standard theatre, 59% prefer visiting the latter. The likely reason? Money. 64% of the respondents say that the dine-in theatre experience is a luxury. Panelists who earn over $100,000 a year were 37% more likely to have visited a dine-in theatre than those who earn less than $45,000. While a night at a dine-in theatre is inevitably more expensive for the customer than a night at a standard theatre, finding ways to target lower-income households with deals may help position your dine-in theatre as something everyone can enjoy. Promotions that our panelists were most interested in included buy one, get one free deals, discounted appetizers, or coupons for a small percentage off of the total bill.
There’s no question that dine-in theatres are a huge success for the industry and are here to stay. They provide an experience that elevates a timeless tradition and customers value the convenience. There’s always room for improvement, though, so working towards ending the perception that dine-in theatres are a luxury can help to increase the customer pool, and encourage your current customers to return more frequently. Let’s make a good thing even better.
To submit a question, email with your name, company, contact information, and what you would like to ask the Behind the Screens panel.