Care to supersize that ticket?
Regal Entertainment is banking on it.
The nation's largest theater chain is selling a "SuperTicket" for Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," which debuts in U.S. and Canadian theaters May 2.
The cost is $20 above the regular movie ticket price and includes a high-definition digital copy of the film before it is released on DVD, as well as a digital copy of "The Amazing Spider-Man" on the streaming service Vudu.
The promotion -- essentially two digital movies for the price of one -- comes at a time when theater owners and studios are experimenting with a new business model.
Regal offered similar SuperTicket deals last year, beginning with Paramount's "World War Z" and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," and plans further such promotions on other movies.
"We like being on the leading edge and letting our customers know that they can come to us for more than just seeing movies in the theater," said Ken Thewes, chief marketing officer for Regal Entertainment, based in Knoxville, Tenn.
After years of sparring over how soon after theatrical release a movie can be piped into the home, major studios and theater owners are trying new ways to promote home entertainment sales -- by selling ticket packages that enable patrons to order early digital downloads of movies they see in the theater.
In the first deal of its kind, Sony, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures Canada and Universal Pictures partnered last June with Canadian theater chain Cineplex to offer SuperTicket packages on "Pacific Rim" and other titles.
For theaters, which share in the revenue from the digital download sales, the model provides a new source of income at a time when theatrical attendance has flattened in North America. Studios would benefit by tapping into the exhibitors' large customer base to spur home entertainment sales and offset declining DVD revenues.
"It's not a zero-sum game," Thewes said. "People who consume digital movies also watch movies in the theaters."
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