Rolando Rodriguez has been president and chief executive officer of Marcus Theatres since 2013 and was named chairman in 2017. He will retire from the positions on Oct. 1 but will stay on as a senior advisor and will also continue as chairman of the National Association of Theatre Owners. BizTimes managing editor Arthur Thomas talked with Rodriguez recently about what’s ahead for movie theaters.
Challenges beyond COVID-19 health and safety:
“One of the rippling effects of (COVID shutdowns) was ... a supply issue from the film companies. What that meant was the film companies, many of which own streaming services, since the theaters weren’t open, they had to place their films out and try to monetize them in any way that they could, so a lot of those films ended up going into the streaming services.
“…There are still some challenges with the supply issue, more so because ... the production of these films was delayed … well now you open up that funnel and you’ve got a lot of people trying to make a lot of product all at once. The good news is from a consumer confidence basis, we’re seeing that the numbers and the reaction from consumers on getting back out to the movie and being in that social environment have increased dramatically.”
“I still believe that this is one of the best price-value relationships of entertainment, anywhere, to be found. Look, I love baseball, I love football, I love basketball – all of which are fantastic events – I love going to theme parks, all of those have a significant price point associated with it, where when you think about the price-value relationship of experiencing a great movie in a great environment, enjoying some great food and beverage, on a comparable basis, I don’t think there’s anything like it.”
The future for movie theaters
“From a structural nature of the industry, I think you’re going to see where there’s going to be a lot of other entertainment components and alternative programing that will be introduced into the theaters, and we’re already starting to do that, whether that’s library films, some sporting events that are being shown in the actual theater environment …
“I think one of the advantages we have as (Marcus Theatres) is that we tend to own most of our real estate, so that gives us a great deal of flexibility of what we do, not only inside of our theaters, but also on the outskirts of our theaters to make them a lot more attractive entertainment components.”