Small Californian Cinema Re-opens After a Move to a Subscription Model

Posted on January 2, 2013 11:45 AM by Rob Williams

Given the popularity of movies, it’s sometimes hard to believe that so many cinemas end up going out of business. There are a number of reasons it could happen, from a big gun rolling into town and drawing customers in like magnets, a general lack of support from the public, the advent of high-quality TVs and HD content or maybe something super-simple: high ticket prices. A small-town cinema from Oakhurst, California is trying to combat all of these issues with an interesting idea: subscriptions.

Hoping to save small-town theaters

The plan is simple: give people a $20/mo option that will allow them to watch each movie once and gain the ability to buy tickets for their friends. That’s right – this cinema is focusing on the subscription model primarily, requiring a membership to score individual tickets. Alternatively, you can purchase a day pass for $16. Not exactly a steal, but it is an option if you know you won’t be going to the cinema more than once a month.

It sounds good on paper, but for this particular cinema to succeed using this model, it needed 15% of the city (~3,000 people) to participate. That’s hardly a small number. But, believe it or not, according to the official website┬áthat goal was indeed reached. Oakhurst must be one heck of a movie-loving city.

If this proves to be a success for the long-run, we may just see this sort of model become a common sight. If you’re a huge movie buff, a subscription would pay for itself very quickly.

  • Jamie Fletcher

    Here’s another option: Instead of charging $10 for popcorn and $8 for a soda, how about charging a more competitive price of $2 for popcorn and $1.80 for soda. The day that happens is the day I leave my cave of elves, goblins and fairies…

    • Rob Williams

      I’m inclined to agree. I rarely purchase any food when I go to the cinema. It feels like I’m just raping my wallet in front of everyone.

  • madmatTG

    Why are cinemas going out of business? Stop to consider, $20 for entrance to the movie (per couple) plus another $20 minimum for drinks and snacks and then you get to sit in a room with a bunch of strangers, some of whom find it irresistible to spoiler the movie and others that can’t put their blasted phones away until the end credits. Thanks but I’d rather buy the DVD for $20, pull a $.40 cold drink out of the fridge and pop a $.50 bag of microwave popcorn and sit in the privacy of my own home where there’s no idiots ruining my movie for me. Plus there’s the bonus of being able to fall asleep watching the movie and wake up with all my belongings intact!

    • Rob Williams

      You’ve basically summed up why I decided to skip over seeing Skyfall and will just buy it on Blu-ray when it comes out. I get to enjoy it from the comfort of my own home, then. And I can watch it more than once!

      • madmatTG

        I haven’t been inside a theater in 10 years or more.

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