The big screen is getting bigger. A new report by exhibition specialists Dodona has revealed that the number of super-size screens has doubled in the last four years and is set to quadruple in the next five. The dedicated audiences such screens attract could help to boost flagging ticket sales.
Britain's box office takings grew last year but not by much and many independent cinemas continue to struggle. Dodona's work posits that diversity is the key to winning back disillusioned viewers. The growth of the multiplex industry has been built on the notion that almost all film fans can be served the same way but the future may lie in different venues catering to different tastes. This includes screening the biggest blockbusters on giant size screens like IMAX, with an estimated 16% of viewers willing to pay more to see them that way.
Getting the price right is key. Attempts by some IMAX cinemas to raise prices by 15% after the release of Shrek Forever After resulted in rapidly declining sales and were quickly abandoned. Surcharges for 3D films have also been associated with declining audiences. The Dodona report suggests, however, that most people keen on the giant size screen experience are willing to pay around £3.50 more for it - and although installation costs for such screens can be high, this means they still represent an attractive prospect for cinema owners ready to invest.