Cinemark is getting creative in trying to get customers back to its theaters. Movie theaters were shut down in the U.S. for much of the year starting in March. While many chains have reopened their doors in recent weeks, business has been slow to pick up, for a variety of reasons. In response, Cinemark is now offering private watch parties that will allow customers to bring a Blu-ray or DVD of their choosing to watch on the big screen.
The Private Watch Party option is available now through Cinemark's website. The company says it will allow up to 20 people to enjoy a private auditorium to watch whatever movie they choose to bring a physical copy of. The theater rental starts at $99 and also includes discounted concessions as part of the package. Here's what Cinemark has to say about the new promotion on its website.
"Enjoy all the benefits of our regular Private Watch Party but with your own content! Bring a Blu-Ray or DVD from home and host a screening for up to 20 guests. It's the ultimate big-screen experience, friends, family, popcorn and the privacy and comfort of your own auditorium."
The plus side of this offering is that the options are abundant. Any movie, so long as it does not exceed an R-rating, can be viewed on a big screen. This takes current theatrical releases off the table but it could provide movie lovers the fix they've been looking for. The other advantage is that the these movie theaters will only be filled with people that the customer is presumably comfortable with. Strangers will be removed from the equation entirely, which is likely appealing. Health and safety concerns are still a huge problem and health experts have cautioned against going to the movies, despite the precautions chains like Cinemark, AMC and Regal are taking.
Theater chains are having to get creative as 2020 has been truly brutal to the movie business. Not only were theaters shut down for months, with AMC teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, but even now that they are open the box office has failed to come back to life. Tenet and The New Mutants didn't bring the level of business that those in the industry perhaps hoped they would. As a result, other major movies such as Black Widow have moved to 2021, leaving few big releases left on the calendar for the year.
Assuming there are a lot of empty seats at theaters right now, this is a way for Cinemark to make use of those empty seats and offer people a possibly safer way to enjoy a movie. The Alamo Drafthouse recently rolled out a similar plan, allowing theaters to be reserved for $150, with customers able to select a movie from a curated list offered by the chain. If this pans out, AMC and Regal will almost certainly follow with similar offerings. For more details or to find a participating theater, head on over to Cinemark.com.