Why movie theater chains don’t bother with branding

Movie theater brandingIt’s been a little over a year (almost 14 months) since Chinese owned Wanda Group purchased AMC Cinemas in one of the biggest deals of 2012.  While I have posited on why people still go to the movies in a prior post http://wp.me/pn6jX-jX,  In that post I neglected to mention that people don’t go to a Regal theater, or an AMC theater (not to mention Cinemark, Carmike, or Cineplex Entertainment which round out the top 5 in the U.S. in terms of total screens).






1 Regal Entertainment Group Knoxville,TN 7,367 580
2 AMC Entertainment Inc Kansas City, MO 5,894 483
3 Cinemark Theatres Plano, TX 3,895 298
4 Carmike Cinemas, Inc. Columbus, GA 2,242 232
5 Cineplex Entertainment Toronto, ON 1,438 133

If you are a movie-goer you are all too familiar with sitting down in the theater, seeing prior to previews, ads for local and national brands, and stupid and inane trivia quizzes.   Before the previews begin (pre-preview?) the theater group gives its spiel on turning off your cell phone, not talking, and of course visiting the concession stand.   Also included are thank you’s for visiting XYZ theaters.    This always strikes me as odd since I cannot ever recall making a movie-going decision on the basis of the name of the theater or the brand of theater showing the film.

My guess is most people are like me in this instance.   People pick out the movie they want to see first, look for the time(s) that the movie is being shown at the various area theaters and then decide on which show to attend based on what is most convenient and works best for their schedule.   The thought that I’d rather go to an AMC Entertainment theater than a Regal Entertainment theater likely never enters one’s mindset – individually or collectively.   It’s understandable that people might prefer a particular theater over another due to location, cleanliness, concessions, parking and comfort of the seats.   But the theater brand would not guarantee that an experience at one theater would be consistent at another theater even within the same theater brand.

So why do movie theaters bother branding even a little bit?   One word – advertising.  An advertiser buying a network of movie theaters needs to know the scope and scale of what the movie theater ‘network’ has to offer.   In this way comparatives can be more easily facilitated between movie theater networks.   It has little or nothing to do with the ticket buying public and the patron’s movie theater experience.

If there’s another reason I’m missing please feel free to let me know.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in ads in movies, Living in the World Today, Marketing stuff, Media, Movie theater advertising, Screenvision and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why movie theater chains don’t bother with branding

  1. I totally agree. The theatre brand passes through my vision and doesn’t connect at all. No value to me. You got all of the reasons why I choose a particular thestre “on the nose”!


  2. Tom says:

    There is one brand in the theater business that stands out – IMAX. They offer a premium product, charge a premium price and are expanding the brand out rapidly in the world’s soon to be largest theater market (the “C” word). All that being said, I can’t even remember the last time I went to see an IMAX movie.


    • markkolier says:

      Good point Tom, IMAX is indeed a strong defined brand that promises a specific experience. But content for IMAX is theater specific and that’s quite different than the exact same content spread among all the traditional theater chains.


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