Cineplex charges extra at some Star Wars screenings

Fans are getting a surprise twist at the box office with extra $1 charges for assigned seating

Cineplex Inc. is giving Star Wars fans a surprise twist at the box office by charging an extra dollar for assigned seating at some showings.

The country’s biggest exhibitor has tacked on a surcharge at select regular screenings of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” across Canada in hopes moviegoers will be willing to pay more for not waiting in line.

It’s a move the company says makes it convenient when a screening is sold out, which often leaves latecomers hunting for empty seats.

While reserved seating isn’t entirely new at Cineplex, the cost has usually been built into ticket prices for the company’s premium Imax, VIP and UltraAVX theatres. The exhibitor also experimented with charging an extra $2 for “prime seats” at the centre of a few of its busier theatres.

But it has not previously rolled out the concept at what it calls “regular” screenings — movies shown in traditional auditoriums without the additional costs associated with 3D or a larger screen.

With “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” likely to be the biggest film of the year, Cineplex wanted to gauge how audiences reacted to the concept on a wider scale. The company says about 20 per cent of its Canadian locations are testing the $1 fee for reserved seats at regular screenings.

If the concept is received positively, it’s likely Cineplex will revisit the reserved seating at regular screenings for other event movies expected to draw huge crowds.

The move comes as Cineplex and other theatre owners hunt for ways to boost profits at a time when a night at the movies competes with a raft of other convenient entertainment alternatives, like Netflix.

Screenings of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” have put an extra financial squeeze on North American exhibitors after Disney revealed a number of unusual requirements for any theatre wanting to screen the film.

Disney told exhibitors it would pocket about 65 per cent of the box-office revenues from Star Wars tickets. Traditionally, distributors take about half of the box-office revenue for a movie.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Disney’s move cuts deeply into exhibitor profits for the biggest movie of the holiday season.

It was widely expected that theatre owners would look to recoup their lost share in other places, like hiking the price of concession items and boosting ticket prices wherever possible.

Just Posted

One Maskwacis man faces eight charges after police raids

Maskwacis RCMP seize firearms, cocaine during search warrants

Cullen, Dormaars win gold for Wetaskiwin Wrestling

Rookie wrestlers step up for Wetaskiwin team

Fisherman’s Wharf, the little hidden gem of Wetaskiwin

Icelandic fish is 24 to 36 hours from Atlantic Ocean to your plate

NDP government policies have only made bad situation worse

NDP smears Kenney because can’t run on own record

County of Wetaskiwin boosts two Public Works positions to full time

County council hears workloads increasing, more revenue off-sets increased hours

Fashion Fridays: Up your beauty game

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

January home sales were weakest since 2015, average national price falls: CREA

CREA says the national average price for all types of residential properties sold in January was $455,000

Wilson-Raybould’s cabinet move due to departure from team: Trudeau

Jody Wilson-Raybould suddenly quit the cabinet this week, but Trudeau isn’t saying

Trump says he’ll declare national emergency to build border wall

In a rare show of bipartisanship, lawmakers voted Thursday to fund large swaths of the government

Single on Valentine’s Day? Don’t worry, we got you

A round up of some of the funny memes out there for singles this Valentine’s Day

WATCH: Canada Winter Games athletes arrive from across the country

Up to 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches will arrive throughout the day Thursday and Friday

Ponoka H&R Block celebrates 45 years of business in town

The company president stopped by for a visit to congratulate the Ponoka branch for its longevity

Avalanche victim identified as Alberta man in his 20s

Outdoor guides warn against high winds in the mountains Family Day weekend

Most Read