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Movie Theaters Struggle to Win-Back Viewers

E-Commerce News reports that as the options for at-home entertainment expand to include first-run movies in high-definition home theaters, operators of traditional movie theaters are adding amenities aimed at coaxing consumers out of their living rooms.

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Harkins Theatres will introduce Denver audiences to some of these offerings next Friday when it opens its new 18-screen cinema in Stapleton's Northfield retail development. The US$17 million theater complex includes state-of-the-art sound systems and a 70-foot screen towering over a 600-seat auditorium.

The lower-tech touches -- like childcare and a concession stand serving chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks -- may also catch customers' attention. "We want to offer amenities that people won't necessarily find at home," said Wayne Kullander, executive vice president of Harkins. "We want to offer a presentation that is going to be superior to what you would find at home or anywhere else."

Nationally, theater operators are struggling with declining attendance and box office receipts. Movie attendance dropped 8 percent to 1.4 billion in 2005 while box office revenues dipped 5.7 percent to $8.99 billion, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.

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