Summer, here we come! Anticipated movie lineup augurs strong concession sales

Columns
Snack Corner

Summer 2015 is coming and it would seem the whole industry is giddy—with good reason. Box-office anticipation for the summer season is running high and the concession promotions are there to match it.

April’s movie slate was impressive and has arguably already kicked off our high season. The next three months will be packed. I won’t be able to cover all the great movies coming out, but I will highlight some of them and the marketing promotions around them.

May will open with Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, followed by Universal’s Pitch Perfect 2 and Warner Bros.’ Mad Max: Fury Road to headline the month. In addition to promotional cups, bags and action figures, Avengers has a sweepstakes sponsored by Jeep, to actually win a Jeep. Sweepstakes have become very popular to promote movies, since they fit very easily into direct social-media communication with the consumer. Many sweepstakes are to win premiere movie tickets, such as with Universal’s Pitch Perfect 2.

Trending statistics through movie site hits, Facebook, Twitter, and website surveys through prize entries all help the studios track the expected attendance for a film. These estimates are key to managing the marketing programs that surround the film right up to the release date. As with most consumer-oriented industries, the interconnectivity of social media to marketing is complete.

In June, we get a wide, wide range of films across all genres and ratings. The promotions surrounding Universal’s Jurassic World are just as wide, spanning multiple retail industries with beautiful graphic containers in theatres. Sweepstakes for money and tickets are accompanied by an entire LEGO line created specifically for the film. Action figures for the Marvel Comics films have been abundant, and cross over into QSR kids meals. The cross-promotional selling of toys from movies continues to be a strong component to the global marketing plan for action films.

Warner Bros’s Max and Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out in 3D come out in June with accompanying kids’ trays and container promotions, and fill the roster with films for children. But June also sees some very adult films in Warner Bros.’ Entourage, 20th Century Fox’ Spy and Universal’s Ted 2, all highly anticipated films. Whoever won the sweepstakes to be an extra on the set of Entourage hit the jackpot: It would be like going to the Oscars, it is so full of star appearances. All fun films, all guaranteed to sell lots of food and drinks. My prediction is that our bars will be pouring when Entourage hits theatres.

July brings what I’m calling the triple M. That’s right, Magic Mike 2, Minions andMission: Impossible 5, a little something for everyone that should be magnificent. Coming from Warner Bros,, Universal and Paramount, respectively, these films are part of a huge month. Sometimes, and especially in 2014, July can just drop off and fall very flat. That will not be the case this year. July should be a magnificent month for concessions, as attendance will soar with a truly incredible lineup of film. All complete with fun sweepstakes, containers, and even a candy product for Minions that supports the Variety charity as we highlighted a few months ago, these films are stirring up interest. The Terminator is also being brought back by Paramount, and with the advancements in robotics since the earlier films, this might actually scare the public with that nagging question: “Is art imitating life or is life imitating art?”

The wealth of movies coming out this summer is staggering, and even August doesn’t drop off like it so often does. That means our opportunity to sell to the consumer once inside our doors will be vast. The wide variety of film and the buzz that is surrounding the hits that are coming out will send consumers to our buildings ready to have fun. We have to be ready to give it to them. There are some new ice-cream products coming out this summer, some new beverage items, and some new bar drinks for adults. If you haven’t prepared your game plan for capitalizing on the summer audience coming your way, you need to kick it into gear, in all directions. I apologize if I have used this quote before, but you have to “make hay while the sun shines.” Well, the sun is shining this summer and we have a tremendous chance to make grand sales from our food and beverage offerings. Get to it!