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Stars & Strollers

Work & Lifestyle

At a time when movie theatres are facing increased competition from insperience-driven home cinemas, and the latest flicks are online for (illegal) downloading before they even hit the box office, tapping into new audiences is crucial. A great example of reviving the slow midweek matinee slot is Stars & Strollers. A regular feature at Famous Players movie theatres across Canada, Stars & Strollers offers a baby-friendly cinematic experience: lights are dimmed, not turned off, allowing parents to feed their babies or find fallen pacifiers. Changing tables are provided; the movie’s volume is lowered to avoid damaging or startling infant ears; nursing is welcome; and free stroller parking is offered. To help ensure that babies sleep soundly, suspense and action films with frantic soundtracks (and shrieking parents) are avoided. From the carer’s point of view, perhaps the most important benefit is not having to face angry glances from other audience members if their baby starts screaming. Offering a much-needed chance for parents to get out of the house, baby matinees are a great way for movie theatres to fill empty seats during the midweek’s quiet hours, at negligible extra costs. Programs similar to Stars & Strollers, with names ranging from Cry Baby Matinee (Angelika in Texas and New York) to Electric Scream (Electric Cinema in London), exist in various parts of the world, but opportunities remain for cinema owners and other service providers willing to do a bit of creative research. Seek out the under-served audience, make it focused, tell a story. In short: be remarkable (yes, very Seth Godin).


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