Movie Theaters Innovate to Stay Competitive in Dallas' Market

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Movie buffs have it pretty good these days. They have a wide variety of theaters to choose from including art house cinemas that screen non-mainstream fare and luxury cinemas that offer reclining seats and full food menus. They don't have to go to a theater to get their film fix, but if they choose to they can buy their tickets in advance from home.

In Dallas the movie-going options are still expanding. Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, a Mexican movie theater chain that recently moved its headquarters from Los Angeles, California, to Addison, plans to open two theaters, the first in downtown Dallas' Victory Park at the beginning of 2018 and the second in Euless' Glade Park in 2017. 

The movie ticket app Atom Tickets also just opened up shop in Dallas. The app gives movie-goers the opportunity to purchase tickets to movies at chains such as Studio Movie Grill, AMC and Regal Cinemas and invite their friends to meet them at the theater. The app is available on Apple and Android mobile platforms. 

April Mendoza, the vice president of sales and marketing for Cinépolis, says that both of their new theaters will feature plush recliners and bars for audiences who prefer an adult beverage with their movie instead of a massive soda. The Victory Park location will also offer eight movie screens and a full gourmet menu with in-theater waiter service. 

"We just felt the Dallas community would really fit with the concept we're bringing," Mendoza says. "We always look for cities that have a need for something like that and this matches our business model." 

The Euless theater also takes advantage of the growing Glade Park project, Mendoza says. 

"There's a lot of construction going on there that has a revitalization going on and we wanted to be a part of that growth," Mendoza says. 

Ameesh Paleja, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Atom Tickets, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, says they were attracted to Dallas because of its impressive economic growth and embrace of technology.

"What we found is that Dallas in particular is a very socially connected community, more so than other big cities," Paleja says. "The thing we offer that other ticketing providers don't is coordinating with friends in a simple way."

Through Atom Tickets' app, movie-goers can not only purchase tickets for movies but also invite friends through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The app allows invited friends to purchase their own tickets so one person doesn't have to buy tickets for everyone. Snacks and drinks can be ordered ahead of time to avoid lines. 

"The app facilitates that invitation process and lets everybody pay for themselves," Paleja says. "At the heart of our app, we are a social ticketing platform. We're focused on getting customers to the content they love and connecting them with the people they want to go with." 

Mendoza says that Cinépolis has had its eye on the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the last year and a half, ever since chief executive officer Adrian Mijares "fell in love with the community and felt it was a better fit for our company as we try to reach across the country." 

"We're definitely going into communities that are interested in going to the movies and like to have broader food and beverage fare," Mendoza says. "We're more service-oriented because our concept is based around service and having a high-end, luxurious feel. We're definitely looking for communities that like that." 

Paleja says Atom Tickets decided to set up shop in Dallas because moviegoers here buy tickets to a wide spread of movies, from DC Comics' latest big budget epic to independent films. "It's an incredibly passionate movie-going community with a lot of different theater-going experiences," Paleja says. "There's just a wide variety and appetite for stories being told." 

Lynne McQuaker, the director of alternate programming, public relations and outreach for Studio Movie Grill, headquartered in Dallas, says working with ticket-purchasing apps like Atom helps them stay competitive as existing theater chains expand their operations and new ones like Cinépolis move into town. 

"I think there's always going to be competition in the market and that makes us better," McQuaker says. "It makes us strive for more differentiating factors. Working with Atom offers our guests more alternatives and gives them a chance to make it convenient to go to the movies." 

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