Today's report on Movies in the News:
Booze is the next step in cinemas' fight against flagging attendance. For decades, local and state laws prevented movie chains from offering alcoholic beverages in regular auditoriums. Only dine-in theaters could offer booze by securing a restaurant liquor license, while some high-end cinemas — including the Landmark and ArcLight in L.A. — offered beer and wine in designated 21-and-over auditoriums.
During the past two years, 32 states have relaxed their laws, allowing theaters to serve alcohol in any auditorium. "It is the fastest-growing amenity in our industry," says George Patterson, senior vp food and beverage at AMC. "Dollar for dollar, alcohol doesn't cannibalize candy, soda or popcorn. If I put a bar in, I can almost guarantee my food and beverage revenue will go up. Over 70 percent of our guests are over the age of 21."