Regal Cinemas May Start Charging Less for Flops—and More For Hits

October 25, 2017, 2:38 PM UTC

If you’re one of the (very few) folks who sat through Geostorm this weekend and wondered why on earth you paid full price for the global warming flop, Regal Cinemas has some good news.

The nation’s second-largest theater chain is about to begin testing a dynamic pricing model for films, where hit movies might cost a bit more, but unpopular ones would have lower ticket prices.

Scheduled to start in select markets in early 2018, according to Bloomberg, the demand-based pricing is being done in conjunction with Atom Tickets, an app company. Regal hopes to discover if the pricing strategy results in higher revenues and increased attendance.

What’s unclear is whether people will avoid Regal for popular movies, like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, under this plan. The chain says the test will only be in enough markets to be statistically significant, but didn’t say which cities or theaters will participate.

Keep in mind that when it comes to Regal’s bottom line, it’s less about butts in the seats for the movies themselves—and more about the lines at the concession stands. Movie theaters make as much as an 85% profit on sales of concessions.

While Regal is open to exploring this sort of experimental pricing model, it has so far been unwilling to work with MoviePass, a service that lets film fanatics pay a monthly $10 fee to see as many movies as they want in theaters.

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