Sit Back and Really Relax

Can the Movie Theater Be Saved? While Hollywood sticks with the same old ideas–bigger, pricier blockbusters–these outsiders are making real changes.

Sit Back and Really Relax
Hamid Hashemi Founder and CEO, iPic Entertainment [Photo by Adam Krause]

Hamid Hashemi

Founder and CEO,
iPic Entertainment


At iPic theaters, a few dollars more gets viewers reclining leather seats, in-theater food-and-drink service, and reserved seating. It has nine locations in seven states, with six more coming soon.

The Comforter

“The movie business’s traditional thinking is ‘Cost is everything.’ I remember when they raised the ticket prices in New York to $10–people picketed! But what the industry misunderstands is that it isn’t just about money. It’s about what amenities people get for the cost. They both must rise.

When you get to our theater, you’re escorted to your seat–a comfortable, reclining leather seat with a blanket. Your seat is reserved and food service comes to you. We address traditional theater complaints: noisy kids, sticky floors, expensive popcorn. You never step on concrete at iPic; it’s just carpet and leather. We’re not a teenage hangout, there aren’t phones ringing, people aren’t getting up–there’s no disruption of your movie experience. Traditional theaters have to sell popcorn at $6 a bucket and show commercials to survive. We don’t.

The challenge is finding the right location. Our audience plays into site selection. We know we play well to young professionals and want to be close to their office buildings. We have a lively bar and happy hour, so people do come in after work. Our audience is comprised of people who don’t have kids at home and can go to the movies in the middle of the week. Ninety percent of our tickets are sold online; people consider it a night out. The average stay at our theaters is 4.5 hours.

It used to be a year before movies made it to DVD. Soon, you’ll be able to see a movie on the big screen, iPad, iPhone, and TV on the same day around the world. It’s the evolution of the business. But that doesn’t mean the theaters are going to go out of business. They’re going to have to be more experiential. This is just the start.”

Fast Talk: Can the Movie Theater Be Saved?