I’m eager to see how Reel Cinema’s recent bid to sell alcohol works out. In the right atmosphere being able to enjoy an alcoholic drink alongside the newest blockbuster is a great experience.
There are a lot of smaller cinema chains across the world who serve drinks, and in some cases meals, but these often come with no-tolerance rules. The Alamo Drafthouse locations in the US, for example, warns against talking for the duration of the movie and eject customers who are unwilling to follow the rules. The same goes for texters and unaccompanied minors.
While Alamo is aiming for the perfect movie-going experience for film buffs, Reel Cinema will have to consider the impact selling alcohol will have on everyone’s experience.
Another interesting part of Reel Cinema’s plans is to expand their ability to screen live events from around the world in a cinematic environment. Personally, I think this is the more interesting attraction as the World Cup rolls around next year, as well as being able to show highly regarded stage productions.
Something I would like to see if they go forward with these two ideas however is an improvement in the theatres themselves. Many choose to visit Nottingham and Lincoln due to the quality and modernity of their cinemas and Reel Cinema banking on alcohol simply to bring in numbers would not help matters. This would also increase my likelihood of wanting to go see long live events in Grantham instead of heading out of town to more comfortable theatres.
Ultimately I do like the two ideas but Reel needs to put some serious thought on how they’re going to enforce any rules with serving alchohol, such as limits per customer or no sales during a movie, to keep others’ experiences to a high standard. Alamo Drafthouse cinemas became a success because they had a vision and stuck rigidly to it, I hope Reel Cinemas can follow suit.