Moore Warren promotes new IMAX theater with half-price showings
The Warren Theatre in Moore officially is opening its new IMAX auditorium to the public today.
The $10 million addition features a 60-foot-plus screen and stadium seating for 601 people, according to NewsOK.com.
In an effort to attract audiences for its opening week, the theater is offering half-price showings of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “The Dark Knight” through March 2.
AT A GLANCE
Half-price movies at Warren’s IMAX
‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’
When: 11:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. every day through March 2
‘The Dark Knight’
When: 3:15 and 10:10 p.m. every day through March 2
The theater is doing well and ticket sales are rising, Warren Theatres spokesman Dan Gray said.
The same might not be true for the movie industry as a whole, though.
National movie ticket sales plummeted 4.2 percent from 2010 and 2011, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. In 2011, ticket prices hit an all-time high of $7.93 per ticket.
Increasing ticket prices aside, there are several other factors that could be contributing to the decline in movie theater attendance, film and video studies professor Katrina Boyd said. The problem stems from the artistic side of film clashing with the business side, she said.
“In the ’70s, the huge production companies started to notice they could gain repeat customers with spectacular, expensive films like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Jaws,’” Boyd said.
These high-concept, easily marketable films have become the norm in major theatrical showings, a trend Boyd said actually is narrowing the target audience.
“They think these films are marketable to a wide audience; however, they are really for young men,” she said. “This is why we have seen a tremendous rise in popularity of independent ‘niche’ films.”
There are other films targeted at demographics other than young males, but they still present a potential problem, Boyd said.
“There is a major difference in today’s films to that of their ’70s counterparts,” Boyd said. “The average main character has morphed over time from an adult to a teenager, which middle-aged people are not so interested in. The middle-aged demographic is being underserved.”
Boyd said this could account for the box office decline, since middle-age adults are more likely to find a trip to the movies a feasible cost in their budget as opposed to a 16-year-old kid.
Boyd also said she thinks the rise of 3-D movies is contributing factor.
“Honestly, students tend to dislike it,” she said.
Aside from the ticket price increase — a 3-D movie ticket at Warren Theatres costs $13 as opposed to a $7 student ticket — Boyd said she thinks the whole experience is ruined by 3-D.
“The problem with 3-D is that it totally changes the intended dynamic of many films,” she said. “Most movies in the U.S. are representational. When all of a sudden the story is jumping out at you, it challenges the representational dynamic and makes the story more confusing.”
Boyd said she hopes ticket sales increase in 2012 because she believes attending the movies is a tradition worth preserving.
“Theatrical viewing preserves a degree of common culture that would be a shame to see disappear,” she said. “Watching a film in an audience promotes a sort of wrapped attention, which allows complete immersion in the story. It is private and unified at the same time.”
Boyd jokingly calls herself a “cinema vampire” because she feeds off of the reactions of those around her in theaters.
“That is why I still enjoy watching films I’ve seen a hundred times when I’m in a viewing with students,” she said. “The reaction of the people surrounding you is vital to a cinematic experience.”
The national average for ticket price is $7.83, down from 2011, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. However, only two months into 2012, the numbers are not truly indicative of an improvement.
For students on a budget who may find cost to be the biggest factor keeping them clear of the theaters, many movie theaters offer rewards programs.
AMC Theaters offer their Stubs card, which has an up-front fee of $12 per year but gives a $10 reward for every $100 spent — roughly a free movie for every 10 you see — as well as free food upgrades, waived online ticket ordering fees and other perks that can help cut costs.