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Will More Movie Theaters Start Serving Booze to Boost Business?

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire March 27, 2014 at 2:1PM

Want some booze with your popcorn? A handful of movie theaters around the country, including Brooklyn's Nitehawk Cinema, already serve alcohol to customers -- and given that ticket sales are down, more movie theaters might get in the alcohol business.
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Nitehawk Cinema

Want some booze with your popcorn? A handful of movie theaters around the country, including Brooklyn's Nitehawk Cinema, already serve alcohol to customers -- and given that ticket sales are down, more movie theaters might be motivated to get into the alcohol business.

Before jumping on the boozy bandwagon, Carmike Cinemas VP  Rob Lehman told exhibitors during a panel at CinemaCon that they have to heed caution. "Everyone’s doing a dining concept," Lehman said, Deadline reports. But exhibitors should think twice before applying for a liquor license. "It's a long process but we work very closely with the police. Everyone has this perception that kids are going to get drunk at the back of the auditorium. We don’t want that."

Theaters need to train staff to deal with potential issues and need to be extra-careful about not serving minors.

In addition to attracting older audiences, serving alcohol at movie theaters makes practical sense, according to Marcus Theatre's Rob Novak, who said that some potential moviegoers "do not have time to go out to dinner and then rush to the movie theater." The idea is to make moviegoing into an "event where people can come and have a social experience," he said.

Some movie theaters, such as Nitehawk, create special cocktails and menu items tied to specific films, such as the Doppelganger tied to "Enemy" and "The Golden Quill to accompany "Bad Words."

This article is related to: CinemaCon , Exhibition, Exhibition