muvicoAs movie audiences continue to shrink, theater owners are looking for new ways to put butts in the seats, from upgrading their sound systems to revamping concession stands (Baby carrots, anyone?). And, increasingly, they're trying a different approach:  make the experience feel exclusive, and charge more for it.

Much like boutique hotels, small theater chains are starting to appeal to a specific demographic, and are tailoring their wares with that audience in mind. For example, in an effort to appeal to older moviegoers, Muvico, which owns 12 theaters around the country, has equipped each of its facilities with child care, and many of them offer a full bar.  The company's Palace 20, in Boca Raton, features valet parking, a full-service restaurant, and allows no one under 21 in its theaters. While this approach obviously cuts out what many consider to the be prime commercial demographic, Muvico’s owners are comfortable with their approach-- instead of trying to draw big crowds, they offer amenities that persuade adults to bypass conventional multiplexes. And audiences are coming, willing to spend $18 for tickets (including popcorn and valet service), and more for child care, dinner, and drinks.

Raising the luxury bar even further will be the “Egyptian theme” complex Muvico is constructing in New Jersey. It will include “a 400 seat bar and restaurant, a rooftop terrace, complete with an outdoor screen, and a helipad to help facilitate VIP access.” Um, ok. While I have to admit that an adult theater-going experience sounds sort of appealing to me, I don’t need to go to Vegas to see Wedding Crashers.