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ArcLight Cinemas

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A pioneer in creating an elevated movie-going experience, ArcLight Cinemas sought to re-imagine their offerings in new ways. They asked Shook Kelley to help strategically design a new approach, beginning with their Boston, MA site. 

ArcLight Cinemas is a premium movie theater chain with its origin story rooted at the site of the historic Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, CA. This first theater site is a particularly well-respected venue within the film industry and often hosts directors, producers, writers and actors for live Q&A events and premieres. ArcLight now has theaters across the country; but, in marketplaces confronted by new viewing habits, its reputation and more progressive standards have been harder for new audiences to grasp.

The way audiences consume movies has changed over the years.

The way audiences consume movies has changed over the years. Going out to see a movie is less and less about just seeing the actual film anymore. In an effort to bolster waning theater attendance, many theaters have upgraded their experiences to include amenities such as reclining seats, reserved seating or 4D effects. However, the biggest shift in the industry has been more and more companies embracing in-theater dining experiences, including restaurant-style food, beverages and even sometimes, seat-side service. 

ArcLight, on the other hand, has its own perspective about the best way to enjoy a movie. Committed to watching a movie “the way the filmmaker intended,” ArcLight has a set of beliefs that define their ideal standards—from no late seating to no loud foods—they ultimately strive to deliver a seamless and distraction-free experience. This ensures the ideal conditions by which the audience can truly feel transported into another realm and connect more strongly with the story in front of them. 

ArcLight also has a commitment to deepening the movie-going experience in other areas of its space beyond the “black box” where you watch movies. For instance, it features actual artifacts from movies to further one’s appreciation, interaction and understanding of a film. ArcLight also appreciates the need for high touch social occasions as part of the movie-going experience. Some of their spaces include full service restaurants, bar lounges and coffee cafes, but they are not necessarily designed to the potential of a full “night out” or as a socially-facilitative environment that could rival other social options. 

ArcLight Cinemas exemplifies the power of convening by attracting a community of passionate film lovers who appreciate the craft of film.

Shook Kelley saw that ArcLight had strong convictions about delivering a better experience for people passionate about movies, but they were not getting credit for everything they were doing beyond the traditional cinema. The opportunity to shift the context of how ArcLight was being perceived and presented—from a movie theater with extras to a great social event—became the focus of the project.

Leveraging Shook Kelley’s philosophy around “Environment Affects Behavior,” pivotal shifts were made that would encourage new behaviors: 

 

  • Instead of a “waiting” area, we created a pre-movie social lounge that encourages hanging out, enjoying a drink and/or snacking on small bites before heading into a movie.
  • Instead of a concessions stand with lines, we created a more quick fulfillment concessions area where items can be ordered ahead of time, so you don’t lose time waiting.
  • Instead of allowing the end of the movie be the end of your experience, we included a full service standalone destination bar where you can continue to hang out in a socially vibrant space.
  • Instead of separately displaying novelty retail items and movie artifacts in pass-through areas, we designed an integrated café concept that provides yet more opportunities for socializing while rooting it in a discovery zone of curated movie-related retail, and behind-the-scenes artifacts.

With this new direction, ArcLight Cinemas exemplifies the power of convening by attracting and hosting a more meaningful community of passionate film lovers who appreciate the craft of film. It embraces new ways to amplify the social movie-watching night out, while honoring the actual film as the hero of the story.

ArcLight Cinemas is a premium movie theater chain with its origin story rooted at the site of the historic Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, CA. This first theater site is a particularly well-respected venue within the film industry and often hosts directors, producers, writers and actors for live Q&A events and premieres. ArcLight now has theaters across the country; but, in marketplaces confronted by new viewing habits, its reputation and more progressive standards have been harder for new audiences to grasp.

The way audiences consume movies has changed over the years.

The way audiences consume movies has changed over the years. Going out to see a movie is less and less about just seeing the actual film anymore. In an effort to bolster waning theater attendance, many theaters have upgraded their experiences to include amenities such as reclining seats, reserved seating or 4D effects. However, the biggest shift in the industry has been more and more companies embracing in-theater dining experiences, including restaurant-style food, beverages and even sometimes, seat-side service. 

ArcLight, on the other hand, has its own perspective about the best way to enjoy a movie. Committed to watching a movie “the way the filmmaker intended,” ArcLight has a set of beliefs that define their ideal standards—from no late seating to no loud foods—they ultimately strive to deliver a seamless and distraction-free experience. This ensures the ideal conditions by which the audience can truly feel transported into another realm and connect more strongly with the story in front of them. 

ArcLight also has a commitment to deepening the movie-going experience in other areas of its space beyond the “black box” where you watch movies. For instance, it features actual artifacts from movies to further one’s appreciation, interaction and understanding of a film. ArcLight also appreciates the need for high touch social occasions as part of the movie-going experience. Some of their spaces include full service restaurants, bar lounges and coffee cafes, but they are not necessarily designed to the potential of a full “night out” or as a socially-facilitative environment that could rival other social options. 

ArcLight Cinemas exemplifies the power of convening by attracting a community of passionate film lovers who appreciate the craft of film.

Shook Kelley saw that ArcLight had strong convictions about delivering a better experience for people passionate about movies, but they were not getting credit for everything they were doing beyond the traditional cinema. The opportunity to shift the context of how ArcLight was being perceived and presented—from a movie theater with extras to a great social event—became the focus of the project.

Leveraging Shook Kelley’s philosophy around “Environment Affects Behavior,” pivotal shifts were made that would encourage new behaviors: 

 

  • Instead of a “waiting” area, we created a pre-movie social lounge that encourages hanging out, enjoying a drink and/or snacking on small bites before heading into a movie.
  • Instead of a concessions stand with lines, we created a more quick fulfillment concessions area where items can be ordered ahead of time, so you don’t lose time waiting.
  • Instead of allowing the end of the movie be the end of your experience, we included a full service standalone destination bar where you can continue to hang out in a socially vibrant space.
  • Instead of separately displaying novelty retail items and movie artifacts in pass-through areas, we designed an integrated café concept that provides yet more opportunities for socializing while rooting it in a discovery zone of curated movie-related retail, and behind-the-scenes artifacts.

With this new direction, ArcLight Cinemas exemplifies the power of convening by attracting and hosting a more meaningful community of passionate film lovers who appreciate the craft of film. It embraces new ways to amplify the social movie-watching night out, while honoring the actual film as the hero of the story.

ArcLight Cinemas
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