Prizes aimed at luring movie audiences

June 24, 1991|By New York Times

LOS ANGELES People who go to Paramount Pictures' summer movies will receive "scratch and win" cards offering a chance to win prizes ranging from a Caribbean cruise to $H automobile tires.

At American Multi-Cinemas, the nation's second largest theater chain, customers can join a "frequent moviegoer program" that promises free tickets and refreshments.

Both programs are being carefully monitored by other studios and theater chains and are likely to be imitated if successful, industry executives said. Movie revenues have risen only because of higher ticket prices, but attendance has been stagnant for more than a decade.

The days when a famous name on the marquee and an air-conditioned theater sufficed to attract movie audiences are long gone. Confronted with a decline in movie-going and increased competition for the consumer's leisure-time dollar, the film industry is increasingly being forced to find new and unusual ways to market its product.

"There's no question that it is more competitive out there," said Jack Holland, vice president of marketing at the AMC chain.

The Paramount promotion, which runs through Aug. 13, is being conducted in conjunction with corporations like Chrysler, K mart and Hardee's. About 20 million cards will be distributed at some 2,500 the

aters around the country.

Last year, Americans spent just over $5 billion at the box office, a slight decline over the total for 1989. But sales of tickets have hovered around 1.1 billion a year since the late 1970s despite substantial growth in the nation's population and a 35 percent increase in the number of theaters.

That erosion at the box office has been accelerated by an explosion of new ways to see movies, all of them at the expense of traditional theater chains. A decade ago, moviegoers had few real alternatives to seeing a film in a theater, but that is no longer the case.

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