Successful Strategies: Premium Auditoriums and Enhanced Dining Forge a New Era for Movie Complexes

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First appeared in November Issue of Film Journal International (VIEW)

By Mike Cummings, Principal, TK Architects Oct 28, 2015

First, I point out that several exhibitors are developing facilities more like an entertainment center. These normally include a significant cinema component; they are cinema people after all. The facilities will normally include bowling, a games arcade, a restaurant and bar/lounge. Most international markets are not keenly interested in this type of development.

Next, I mention that the cinema complexes of today are much different than those of a decade ago. While exhibitors do have different approaches and solutions, there are common themes focusing on three common factors:

  • Market-adaptive approach
  • Luxury and premium auditoriums
  • Enhanced food and beverage service

To illustrate this point, I reviewed information from the large publicly traded exhibitors in the U.S. In the interest of full disclosure, some of the exhibitors are our clients, and some are not. All of the information presented is taken from investor presentations and quarterly investor conferences and is available on their public websites. Let’s look at what they are doing.

Market-adaptive Approach

The “one size fits all” prototypical approach of the 1990s is over. Exhibitors are carefully evaluating each location and deciding the appropriate type of facility to build or create through renovation. (more…)

Latest Movie Theater Rating Trends: Google Says…

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By Steven Dragan, TK Architects International

October, 2015


“Should I go the Emergency room?”, “Is it possible to make toast in a microwave?”, “Is pizza healthy?”. Everyone knows that the best way to find trustworthy answers to the most important life-questions is to ask Google.

As a Cinema designer, I want to know about Cinema trends.  Normally, I attend conferences, talk with clients and investors, and hold office brainstorming sessions, but this time I turned to Google.  Here is what I found when I asked the internet “what are people saying about going to the movies?”

My method of research was to spend an unhealthy amount of time reading online theater reviews.  My goal was to glean some type of insight on how customers feel about the current cinematic experience.  I learned three things about movie theater reviews, none of which can be proven scientifically. (more…)

Stadium Seating – What is the Most Cost Effective Construction?

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By David Taylor, TK Architecs International.

September, 2015

Pic 1

Back in Dallas, Texas 1995, one of the most revolutionary theaters was built: The AMC Grand 24.  It is widely regarded as the first 24-screen multiplex with stadium seating in the world.  The public loved it.  Stadium seating was so innovative that it sold to packed crowds and they literally had to bus in patrons into their packed parking lots.  Cinema owners across the nation were looking at what AMC had accomplished and, at times, stopped construction on their projects to implement this new style of theater configuration.   It was a cinema arms race.  The sloped floor style theaters were slowly going out of business to this new theater stadium seating arrangement.

But stadium seating is not a new concept…  Although it was relatively new to cinemas in the US, there are examples such as the Colosseum at Piazza del Colosseo in Rome which was built in 80AD.  Its use of tiered step arrangement or stadium seating effectively arranged spectators into a great viewing with easy entrance and exit.  The Colosseum concrete arches were innovative at the time, however in our modern era, theaters are constructed in very different methods.  At the Grand 24 and many other cinemas at that time, US theaters were constructed with raked hot rolled steel and elevated concrete decking from the bottom to the very rear row.  At the turn of the century, the structural supports were being altered from entire hot rolled steel supports to newer, more cost effective arrangements such as cold form steel framing and EPS structural foam. (more…)

It’s not easy being green … or is it?

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There are many misconceptions about the difficulties of green building, especially in theater design. But when you look at the big picture it actually is not as difficult or expensive as it appears to be. In fact there are some real benefits to being more environmentally friendly. Being environmentally mindful can help cut operating costs, improve staff retention and morale and help drive in new customers, yet very few theaters have started to implement green strategies into their day to day operations. Want to experience some of these benefits?