SurveyMe polls exhibitors on luxury seating prices, 4K and more

Cinemas News

The team at SurveyMe team mingled with thousands of theatre owners and other members of the motion picture theatre industry at CinemaCon in Las Vegas this past April. SurveyMe used this opportunity to pick the brains of exhibitors via their mobile survey app.

Recently, cinemas have been shifting towards giving customers a luxury movie experience with reclining chairs and full-service in-theatre dining. With all of these added amenities, theatre owners can charge a premium price for an extra luxurious experience.

Twenty-seven percent of theatre owners believe $11 to $12 is the right amount to charge for a luxury seating experience and 16 percent of owners think $9 to $10 is the right amount. In sunny California, where SurveyMe’s stateside offices are located, it already costs $12 for a non-luxury movie experience.

Moviemakers began filming in the high-resolution 4K format starting around 2013, but many theatre projectors have to be upgraded to show the 4K resolution they were shot in. The camera and movie industries are pushing for ultra-high-definition 4K cinema, and luckily most exhibitors believe audiences will appreciate the higher resolution.

About 38 percent of theatre owners think guests will definitely and probably value the difference between the current 2K format and the inevitable 4K upgrade. About 44 percent feel audiences will probably see the difference. Only about 18 percent of theatre owners believe audiences won’t see the value in 4K.

The most important aspect of running the theatre, according to 70 percent of theatre owners, is learning how to improve the guest’s experience. If guests have a great experience, they’re more likely to become frequent customers and keep spending money. Exhibitors also prioritize increasing per-capita income and figuring out ways to entice guests into their theatres.

With online ticket sales and sites like Fandango, guests are able to pre-purchase their seats in advance, allowing them to reserve their favorite spot in the theatre as well as sit together with their party. Surprisingly, theatre owners are split when choosing between assigned or open seating for themselves. A majority prefer assigned seating, but about 42 percent of theatre owners said they enjoyed the open-seating format more.

Arguably, the most important question SurveyMe asked was: What is a theatre owner’s favorite candy to enjoy while watching a movie? Turns out 43 percent of exhibitors enjoy Milk Duds the most while kicking back with the silver screen and about 25 percent of owners enjoy M&Ms as their favorite.

Film Journal International thanks SurveyMe for sharing their findings. For more information on their service, visit