There was an interesting article on Slashfilm a few weeks ago about an experiment Regal Cinemas will soon test. They’re going to try out dynamic pricing, which means they’re going to potentially charge more for movie tickets during peak periods (nights and weekends) and less for movie tickets during weekdays.
The article hypothesizes that the dynamic pricing could also extend to the popularity of movies themselves. Like, Regal may charge $15 for a Star Wars ticket versus $5 for an indie film or a movie in its 6th week in the theater.
The concept of charging less during non-peak periods is something I’ve seen in local theater chains. At St. Louis Cinemas theaters, all 2D shows on Wednesday are $5, for example. I’ve never heard of charging more for a specific film, though.
I like pricing economics, and I’m curious to see the results of the experiment. My personal experience with movies is that if I’m excited about a movie, I’m going to find a way to see it. Price will not impact my decision or my experience–I’m motivated by not having to wait in line.
As for other people, my guess is that there are some people who might be slightly more motivated to go to a movie if they found out it was cheaper than average. They would need to have that information delivered to them somehow, though, either digitally or displayed at the movie theater (are there still people who show up at a theater not knowing what they’re going to see?).
However, I believe the number of people who will be motivated and happy to see some discounted films is much smaller than the number of people who will be angry if they learn they’re being charged more to watch something that’s selling well. Even though this model works in many other industries, it’s too different from what we’re accustomed to finding at the movie theater.
But we’ll see. What do you think? Would you be more likely to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri if tickets were $5 instead of $10? Would you be angry to learn that your Justice League tickets are $15 instead of $10?