Cineplex launches premium seat pilot program at Toronto theatre
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, May 15, 2014 3:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 15, 2014 3:51PM EDT
Moviegoers will soon have the option to pay more for a comfy reserved seat at their local Cineplex theatre. At least, if Cineplex’s pilot project at Toronto’s Varsity Cinemas is successful.
Cineplex unveiled plans this week to transform select rows at its movie theatres into premium seating sections, with comfier chairs, a prime view of the screen and an extra $2 on the ticket price. Cineplex plans to test its premium seating model at Varsity Cinemas before rolling it out country-wide.
Pat Marshall, Cineplex’s vice president of communications, said the premium seats will simply be another option for moviegoers, but there will still be plenty of seating options for those who want to stick with the cheaper first-come, first-serve model.
“It’s not something that everyone will want, and that’s why we’re not doing the entire auditorium,” Marshall told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Thursday.
Marshall said the change is not as simple as picking two rows and charging more for the seats. “That’s not at all what this is,” she said. “We’re doing a lot more than that.”
The current plan is to tear out two rows of general admission seats partway up in each theatre and replace those seats with large-armed luxury seats similar to those used in Cineplex’s VIP theatres. Customers will be able to reserve these comfier seats ahead of time so they don’t have to wait in line for the movie.
“We may do different things within the auditoriums at Varsity Cinemas, to see what people prefer,” Marshall said.
Full book-ahead luxury seating is already used in Cineplex’s AvX widescreen theatres across the country, and it’s also found in the 19-plus VIP theatres where food and alcohol are served during the move. This latest plan would integrate general seating with that book-ahead model.
“All of the traditional pricing and our traditional seats are available in the remaining rows,” Marshall said.
“This is about providing our guests with a multitude of choices.”