The Cineplex Varsity is going to start charging extra for all the best seats
We always imagined the movie-theatre social contract to be something like this: everybody pays the same price for tickets, seats are first-come-first-served and everybody stops talking and checking their phones the instant the previews are over. And yet, evidently the marketing minds at Cineplex don’t see it that way. According to the Star, the theatre chain is going to start experimenting with charging premiums for the best seats in its theatres, and the first test location is going to be the Varsity Cinemas, in the Manulife Centre.
“It’s really about providing our guests with choices when they go to the movies,” Cineplex spokesperson Pat Marshall told the Star. Yes: soon Torontonians will have the choice either to pay for something they’ve been getting at no additional cost since the invention of film, or to sneak into those seats after the lights dim and risk being ejected by a theatre attendant.
The charge is expected to apply to the middle rows of the theatre (back-row sitters are safe, for now), and it will likely be $2 or $3 on top of the regular ticket price. It won’t be a tremendous price to pay, especially by comparison with the $7 premium Cineplex already charges for admission to Varsity’s VIP cinemas. And Cineplex can be reasonably sure the move won’t affect customer loyalty. It’s not as though Toronto moviegoers have some other giant theatre operator to give all their money to.