Mexico’s multiplex operator Cinepolis has opened its first child-friendly auditorium in the United States, to encourage more families back into movie theaters.
Children aged 12 and under can climb inside a net-enclosed playground, 55 feet (16.7 meters) long and 25 feet (7.6 meters) high, running along one of the theater walls containing slides, hanging bags, poles for climbing, and a clear plastic bubble overlooking the seats far below.
Cinepolis is hoping the move can get children into the habit of moviegoing, amid fears that the fast growth of online streaming services such as Netflix will put a permanent dent into ticket sales at theaters.
“Our ideal goal is to start the kids little and so they understand what the moviegoing experience is and they carry that with them through their adult life and continue to watch movies all the way through,” said April Mendoza, vice president of sales and marketing at the chain.
The playground is opened 20 minutes before the start of the movie and children must be back in their seats by the time the feature begins.
“We want to make sure that we keep the integrity of the moviegoing experience,” Mendoza said.
There are currently two child-friendly auditoriums in the United States, one in Pico Rivera in Los Angeles County, with 133 seats, and another in San Diego, with 134 seats.
Cinepolis introduced the concept to Mexico in January 2014 and expanded it to theater complexes in Spain, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, making a total of 32 worldwide.