Remember when we talked about the impending Cinemapocalypse and how George Lucas said that one day you'll be charged $50 to go to the movies? Did that sound sad, but true, but also some time in the distant future? Well, that time is now-- kind of. Canadian theater chain, Cineplex, announced a while back that it will be offering a "SuperTicket", a 2-in-1 theater ticket/digital copy combo, and Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi action flick Pacific Rim is the first film on which they're testing it out.
We knew theaters wouldn't go down without a fight, despite their declining attendance and fading popularity. They've safeguarded themselves time and time again by adding stadium seating, upgrading visuals and sound, and adding more screens to offer a better variety of films. However, many wondered what theaters could do, if anything, this time around to save themselves. But, like Dr. Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way." Theaters might have found theirs in the SuperTicket.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, when moviegoers buy a SuperTicket at their local Cineplex theater (not so local to those outside Canada,) they will be buying both a theater ticket and a pre-ordered cloud-based UltraViolet digital version of the film. Each ticket costs $19.99 for a movie ticket and a standard definition digital download and $24.99 for high definition. The digital copy of Pacific Rim will be available before the physical copies are, which may move some theater patrons to opt for the more expensive option.
Cineplex isn't the only theater chain to offer such a ticket. Paramount offered the similar "Mega Ticket" as a trial for screenings of World War Z in 5 Regal Cinemas around the US. Those tickets sold for $50 and got you admission to the film, a digital download or stream, custom 3D glasses, a limited-edition official movie poster, and a small popcorn.
I think the difference between the Paramount/Regal Cinemas deal and the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures/Cineplex deal is that the Mega Ticket is kind of a sideshow attraction, whereas the SuperTicket is something a little more -- legitimate. People may try the Mega Ticket once or twice for their most anticipated films, but it's not set up to be regular option -- especially for those who frequent the theater. The SuperTicket lends itself as a real option for those who know they're going to buy the movie anyway. Why not see the show in a theater, save a few bucks, and get it before the DVD release?
My guess is that this new "SuperTicket" idea is going to become the new norm, only there won't just be the SuperTicket and Mega Ticket, there will also be the "UltraTicket", "TurboTicket", or maybe even the "SuperMegaUltraTurbotasticTicket". Other theater chains and studios will customize and alter the bundle the way they find is most lucrative and successful -- if they're wise. Joining forces would be in the best interest of theaters, since they are fighting a losing battle against digital distribution. If you can't beat 'em, bundle 'em.
Amidst all the fear of them being in their death throes as digital distribution becomes the new way we experience films, theater chains once again surprise us. In Mickey Goldmill's voice, the film industry says, "You can't win, theaters! Digital distribution will kill you to death! No one wants you if they have digital!" And what do theaters say? "Why not have both?" Troll level: expert.
What do you think about the "SuperTicket"? Do you think bundling theater admittance and digital copies of films will become the new norm?