CHEERS! How Booze Is Becoming the New Popcorn at Movie TheatersPosted: February 2, 2017
More theater chains are installing bars to pad profits as states relax liquor laws.
Pamela McClintock reports: The drinking song “99 Bottles of Beer” has nothing on Dan Aykroyd‘s Crystal Head Vodka — at least at AMC Theatres. By Aykroyd’s count, the cinema chain has sold 110,000 special Ghostbusters cocktails since last summer using the vodka, part of a campaign by AMC to boost earnings by hundreds of millions of dollars with increased alcohol sales. “It’s been amazing,” says Aykroyd. “Overall, they’ve bought 7,200 bottles from us.”
Forget popcorn and Milk Duds. Booze is the next step in cinemas’ fight against flagging attendance. For decades, local and state laws prevented movie chains from offering alcoholic beverages in regular auditoriums. Only dine-in theaters could offer booze by securing a restaurant liquor license, while some high-end cinemas — including the Landmark and ArcLight in L.A. — offered beer and wine in designated 21-and-over auditoriums. During the past two years, 32 states have relaxed their laws, allowing theaters to serve alcohol in any auditorium.
“It is the fastest-growing amenity in our industry,” says George Patterson, senior vp food and beverage at AMC. “Dollar for dollar, alcohol doesn’t cannibalize candy, soda or popcorn. If I put a bar in, I can almost guarantee my food and beverage revenue will go up. Over 70 percent of our guests are over the age of 21.”
When Patterson joined AMC six years ago, only six locations offered spirits. By the end of 2016, 178 had lounges and bars…(read more)
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Illustration by Mark Matcho
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