Published January 13, 2015
A glass of wine, sushi and even valet parking may conjure thoughts of a hip restaurant, but at least one chief executive officer would like those adjectives to evoke a different kind of recreational business.
"It is an outside-the-house entertainment experience,” said Hamid Hashemi, president and CEO of Tampa multiplex Muvico (search), which offers such amenities.
Click in the video box above to watch a report by FOX News’ Lisa Bernhard.
With ticket sales down and DVD competition high, Muvico and other theater chains are stepping up the big screen experience.
Muvico is small, with just 12 theaters and 233 screens, but it's one of a growing number of chains including rave motion pictures and national amusements that offer "premiere" service.
For $18, double the regular ticket price, a moviegoer receives reserved seating, popcorn, valet parking and access to high-end food such as sushi. Some theaters have full restaurants.
“We, as theater owners, really have to enhance that experience and combine it with amenities that would encourage people to get out of their houses and come out there,” Hashemi said.
To counter such luxury, big chains such as Loews Cineplex (search ) offer double feature night, two films for the price of one. Lonely hearts can mingle on singles’ night, and Tuesday morning shows are for moms and newborns.
But do folks want all the bells and whistles, or do they just want cheaper tickets?
"I don't think price reductions in and of themselves work,” said John McCauley (search), senior vice president of privately-held Loews.
“What you really need to do to have a program, you have to have customer service, you need to have great content, and I think in the aggregate, all those things work well to draw people back to the movies," he said.
Three of Muvico's theaters rank in the nation's top 20 in receipts — and it just announced the 2007 opening of the biggest theater in the country at New Jersey's Meadowlands Arena (search).
But even Hashemi admits this is a product-driven business, meaning that no amount of frills can lure folks to a movie that simply stinks.
“If you have a good product, people will come out.”