-- "It's time for studios and the cinema industry to stop charging the same
price to see any movie any day of the week, a media industry analyst
said in a strongly worded research note Friday.
"Movie exhibitors are operating with the largest amount of excess
capacity of any industry we could find in the free world," wrote Todd
Juenger, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research. Nearly 93% of theater
seats go unfilled, he said, including 99% between Monday and Thursday.
Over the years, many industry players and observers have called for
"variable pricing" for movies. The basic idea is that the more popular
films should cost more to see, while those that don't pack theaters
would get a discount. But theater owners and studios have resisted, in
large part because they are concerned about the negative perceptions
that would come from some new offerings costing less to see than others.
Juenger noted that everything from airplane tickets to hotel rooms
and even DVDs at Wal-Mart have some degree of variable pricing. "The
only industry we could think of that is remotely similar to movies in
terms of flat pricing with big spikes in utilization is fast-food," he