When was the last time you went the movies? Was it an experience worth remembering? The movie theater industry has been facing stagnating revenues for a while now. So why have industry players continued to put little effort into innovations that will improve the user experience?
We think that walking into a theater should feel a lot more like an immersive experience and less like waiting in line to get onto a United Airlines flight. We’ve looked around the world and found some interesting examples of how movie theater designers have attempted to pave the way in this arena over the years.
This movie theater opened in 2003, claiming to be a reaction to the “McDonaldization” of the movie theater experience. Owner George Krikorian said, “Elegance, class, glamour — we are going back to what moviegoing is all about.” While it’s true that the MetroPlex does not look like a McDonald’s, it feels like the designers instead chose to go with the ever-classy ambiance of a 1970s Atlantic City casino. Back in in 2003, this was considered the top-of-the-line in the theater industry. While the styling leaves much to be desired, it certainly called for a new direction, signaling the massive potential of “experience design”.
This theater just opened its doors this year. According to Pacific Theatres’s COO, Nora Dashwood, the company has “continued to make significant strides in offering an unmatched moviegoing experience.” While the murals are a step up, the styling still gives off a casino-like feel (but more Vegas than Atlantic City). While the theater is definitely not the Bellagio, the high ceiling and crystal chandeliers do offer a sense of grandness. Unfortunately, like many things in Los Angeles, this grandness can come off as too cliché and plastic to have the intended effect.
The Light House Cinema in Dublin really understands service design. They design the experience to make you feel like a celebrity, from playfully coloring your theater seats to giving you a chic café spot to chat about the movie afterwards with friends. The designers zeroed in on the emotional drivers that bring people to the movies by delivering a sensory experience through lighting, colors and open space that make you feel like a kid again. Light House Cinema captures your sense of awe from the moment you walk in to the moment you leave.
This is the kind of movie theater where we would go to see the new Star Trek Movie. The designers took the movie experience concept far beyond a mere cosmetic overlay. Using new materials, a new seat design and intentional lighting, this theater presents an image of modernized glamour for today’s movie audience.
Now this is what we’re talking about. Sofas and seats that fully recline (complete with pillows and blankets), in-theater waiter service and new ways to enjoy the movie with friends and partners. At the Paragon Cineplex, your $10 entrance free gives you full access to a lounge with massage chairs and free cookies and coffee. You receive your ticket from the bartender and relax until starting time. In addition to world-class service and contemporary interior design in the main screening room, for about $50 per couple you can get tickets to the exclusive private screening room, one free drink and appetizer, and seats that are individual private beds. It only seats about 40 people and can serve as a private club for the night. We applaud the Paragon for trying new approaches to seating and interior design and including various exclusive services under one roof. How can we get some of these movie innovators over to the US?
This segment is a part in the series : Designs of the Week