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Fans Crave Zombies at $50 a Movie Ticket

20 Jun, 2013

"World War Z"

Special early theatrical screening offering official signage poster, commemorative T-shirt, 3D glasses, pop corn and digital copy sells out

ATLANTA — Neil J. said he bought a $50 mega ticket to a special June 19 screening of Brad Pitt’s World War Z in 3D at Regal Cinemas Town Center Stadium 16 RPX not just to get a 48-hour jump on the rest of the country when the futuristic actioner opens nationwide.

“I wanted the whole experience,” Neil said.

He got that and more, winning a special pre-screening contest hosted by a local radio station DJ. Neil’s prize included an official World War Z backpack featuring web hammock, gloves and other “survivalist” gear.

“This will definitely sell on eBay,” he said.

Regal Entertainment Group conducted the special screening as a test to see if it could enhance the theatrical experience — at a premium price. Paramount Pictures saw the cross-promotion as a bonus to theater operators, while also building a segway to retail. Mega ticket holders will receive an email when they can access the digital copy of World War Z during the retail window. It wasn’t immediately clear if the digital file will be UltraViolet compatible.

Ken Thewes, SVP and chief marketing officer, with Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal, said the co-promotion with Paramount and Fandango.com, went well. He wouldn’t disclose the number of $50 mega tickets sold citing company policy.

The special screening took place at five Regal theaters nationwide. The Atlanta theater held 157 seats. It marked one of the first times competing distribution windows (theatrical and home entertainment) partnered for a tent pole studio release.

Thewes said the screening wasn’t limited to mega ticket holders since it was assumed they might bring a spouse or significant other. Those tickets, which could only be purchased at Fandango, cost less and didn’t include the special features.

“Exit interviews were strong. I think everybody enjoyed the movie. Folks who got the digital download I think will look forward to owning it down the road,” Thewes said. “At Regal, we were happy with the results and we’ll certainly be looking at future implications and opportunities to tweak it and do it even better.”

Indeed, attendee Angela M., who joked she wished Pitt had shown up to the screening, said Regal should reserve sections in the future for mega ticket holders instead of making it festival seating. Regardless, she said she enjoyed the movie despite having to sit near the front of the theater.




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