Saturday, January 24, 2009

DEPARTMENT OF UNSOLICITED ADVICE: If you're operating a movie theatre (particularly a highly trafficked one in Manhattan) and have made the quite wise decision to invest in one of those snazzy electronic signs to hang over the box office and indicate what films are playing at your establishment, two thoughts:
  1. Make sure to configure the board so that all movies showing at your theatre appear on the board, so as to avoid questions from folks about whether particular movies are playing there. If necessary, use the boards to alternate lists of movies. Yes, it would have been easy enough to check a newspaper/the Internet/a cell phone to see if what a patron wanted to see was playing at that particular theatre or the other one down the block, but you should not overestimate your patrons' competency. In particular, do not have tons of blank lines on the board when movies are not listed.
  2. As soon as a movie has sold out, alert the appropriate people, and promptly have them flip the switch to show that movie as sold out. This will avoid folks getting up to the window and asking to see a movie for which you have already sold all available tickets, and give them a chance to decide on an alternative while in line rather than while standing at the ticket window.
In addition, unrelated to the electronic sign-board--I know you may have contractual obligations to play certain films in your largest auditoriums, but if movies are consistently selling out during the day on Saturday, consider reshuffling auditoriums, moving the successful ones into a larger auditorium. Also, when assigning auditoriums, consider that movies that have recently been in the news (for instance, getting an unexpected Best Picture nomination) might be of particular interest to your audience, and assign an appropriately-sized auditorium, rather than playing Underworld 3 on your biggest screens (subject to contractual obligations, of course).

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