PLEASANT HILL, AUGUST 9, 2018 – This week, for the first time this year, my wife and I went to the movies.  I had gone once before to B&B Theatres in Lee’s Summit and liked the atmosphere.  We may be back as movie goers.

Our situation:

Hollywood has lost its way.  Every movie has some sort of hidden political agenda being pushed.  We go to the movies for entertainment.  Yes, even a political opinion blogger likes to stay away from politics for a time.

The Movie Theater National Situation:

Attendance down, according to Bloomberg, to its lowest point since 1992.

Tickets have dropped off 5.8% from 2017 – continuing the decline.

The decline just this century has been significant, from a peak in 2002 of 1.6 billion, down to a low of 1.2 billion tickets sold.   That decline is a twenty one percent decrease in ticket sales.

Chart of Ticket Sales
21% Decline in Tickets Sold in the US & Canada 2002 to 2017

The Reality

People have more movie options at home than ever.  Large screen high definition televisions, sound bars, and comfortable couches close to the kitchen and food or drink: competes easily with the theater.

Go to the theater or stay home?

Get in line to buy the ticket, scroll through options at home?

Sit in uncomfortable seats, and have the person behind you shove the back, or sit on your comfortable chair?

The fact is more and more families are opting for the simplicity of staying home.  Less tickets are sold.  More seats sit empty.  Higher the price of each ticket to cover the cost of the building and crew.

Popcorn and drink prices go up.  Ticket prices go up.  More reasons to stay home. 

Notice I’ve not had to talk about the movie content to justify not going to the movies.  Add the poor performance of Hollywood in general and you have a strong reason why the movie business has lost one fifth of its movie goers.  That means that their children won’t go either, so this trend can worsen once the Z-Generation takes over as the big spending block.

B&B Theatres is based in Liberty Missouri.  It was established in 1924 and it currently has 50 locations across seven states.  This family owned business has a very interesting and colorful history.  They have been innovating since the days of the Bagby Traveling Picture Show.  They traveled with projectors, seats, and concession stands to bring movies to those too far to come to the city.

B&B Theaters Innovates

Remember, we go to the movies to be entertained.  But, I can do that at home.  The question that B&B Theatres answered is: How do we get people into the theatre?  We make it a fun experience.  We make it a place where you can get a drink.  We make it a place where the kids can play and run themselves out, so when they sit down, they will enjoy the movie.  We make it, so no one pushes the back of your chair, or you push the back of anyone’s chair.  We make it feel like your living room, just bigger, but without two hundred empty seats and twenty-five people in the large auditorium.

Our Experience

I get the tickets online.  I don’t have to wait.  I get to pick my seats.  Yes, it has 100% reserved seating.  This alone is worth going to the new theatre (newest one in Lee’s Summit is Longview 7).  But as the late-night commercial’s say: But wait!  There is more!

Things I have not tried but have seen.  First, I can get hot food, not just popcorn or candy.  Second, I can get an adult beverage.  I can come early, relax at the theatre’s bar, and then settle into fully reclinable seats and enjoy the experience.

The experience is so different I had to research the company.  Large digital screens with great sound.  There is a Grand Screen (4 stories high, 6 stories wide), there is MX-4D where you have sight, sound and they add the sensations, so you are more of a part of the experience.

Conclusion

I’m intrigued to see how B&B Theaters does after the “new car smell” wears off.  While I think it will do well, it won’t achieve its goal, if people don’t start comparing every other theatre to the new style, and if they are not willing to drive a bit to get to this option.

A very interesting and innovative experiment, right in Lee’s Summit.

Respectfully Submitted
The Lee’s Summit Conservative

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