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Uber-Style 'Surge' Pricing Could Be Coming To A Theatre Near You

m4tik - 128db / Flickr
 

m4tik - 128db / Flickr

Would you see a movie midweek instead of on a Friday night if it meant saving a few bucks on a ticket? Regal Entertainment Group wants to find out.

The company owns Regal Cinemas, United Artist Theatres and Edwards Theatres. There are nine Regal theatres in the greater Sacramento area.

Under a new pricing strategy announced this week, ticket costs would vary by showtime. At peak times, shows would cost more. At slow times, they'd cost less.

It's a model already used by ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, and by sports teams. 

"This test could be the first step toward a pricing model that drives incremental revenue in peak periods, and incremental attendance in non-peak periods," said Regal CEO Amy Miles in a Wednesday press conference.
 
The change is one of many strategies the company is leaning on to boost revenue after a box office shortfall this summer. Box office totals declined 14 percent in the third quarter this year, and 4.6 percent since last September. 
 
Some experts have predicted continuing decline for the movie theatre industry as subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to succeed. 
 
Natomas moviegoer Larry Turner says if movies are going to get expensive on the weekends, he and his wife might prefer to pick a different movie time -- or just stay home and watch Hulu. 
 
"No, we're not going on a Saturday night because it's expensive. Let's just do Thursday morning, 11 o'clock, cause that's how it is."
 
Miles did not announce which markets will see the new pricing structure in 2018. 
 

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