By Rodney Ho, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(CNT) City News And Talk #atlanta-ga
In a sign that movie theaters are feeling a little antsy for customers, Studio Movie Grill in Alpharetta is holding a drive-by event Thursday where folks can receive four free movie tickets and free popcorn on the spot.
This promotion will happen from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 at 2880 Holcomb Bridge Road in Alpharetta. The Dallas, Texas-based chain is known for offering full-fledged meals to its attendees during the films and that is where it generates a lot of its income.
The free tickets are valid through the end of November, and there are no restrictions regarding which films you can choose. Among the films available now include “Honest Thief,” “The War With Grandpa,” “Tenet,” “Possessor,” “Tar” and “Alone.”
“We’ve run a number of these events when re-opening, and they’ve been incredibly popular,” said Lynne McQuaker, senior director for public relations and outreach.
Brian Schultz, the chief executive officer of Studio Movie Grill, said “We are focusing on our theaters that are getting numerous calls and emails wondering if we are open. Once our guests realize we are back operating, they are really enjoying the experience. Call it guerrilla marketing to get the word out.”
Studio Movie Grill has 34 theaters nationwide, 21 of which are currently open including three of four in metro Atlanta. (Besides the one off of Holcomb Bridge Road in Alpharetta, the Studio Movie Grills in Duluth and Marietta are open as well. The one near North Point Mall in Alpharetta is still closed.)
Capacity at theaters is being kept at between 25% and 50%. In Atlanta, where virus caseloads have fallen in the past couple of months, he said it’s at about 50%.
Schultz is naturally disappointed that movie studios have pushed back many of their tentpole movie releases to 2021 such as “No Time to Die,” “A Quiet Place II” and “Black Widow.” Other films have been sent directly to streaming services such as “Mulan,” “Borat 2” and “Greenland.”
Regal Cinema shut down last week a second time while AMC is worried it may not have enough cash to make it through the end of 2020.
Over the past two weekends, the top-grossing films have not even generated $4 million in box office gross. And only about half the movie theaters in the United States are even open. (New York is finally reopening theaters this weekend in most places.)
“I question whether the studios achieve their long-term goals by damaging a very lucrative, premiere distribution channel,” Schultz said in a text Monday night. “Movie theaters are really hurting. I understand the short-term pressure to produce quarterly earnings. My hope is that this will teach all involved that when all stakeholders win, it is more sustainable and profitable for the entire ecosystem.”
Studio Movie Grill is also generating some extra income renting out theaters, ranging from $200 for classics and $300 for new movies to $500 on weekends. AMC is doing the same thing now, starting at $99.