Mashable recently declared IMAX's VR Arcade a "huge hit", and the company CEO seems to agree:
"Our LA facility, which has been opened for roughly 3 months now, has seen over 20,000 unique visitors," said IMAX CEO Richard Lewis Gelfond during the earnings call. "From a revenue standpoint, the center is pacing at roughly $15,000 a week over the last month or so, including our highest grossing week to date, this past week, and continues to exceed expectations." ... At the time, such bullish talk wasn't hard to believe because we kept getting interrupted by the constant flow of consumer traffic coming in off the street. Real, non-techie families and couples were coming in to buy a ticket to a VR experience ($7-$10), and it was like watching the dawn of a new entertainment era.
It's easy to think you're glimpsing a new dawn if you don't scrutinize it against an old entertainment model and do some basic math. For example, contrast those IMAX VR arcade numbers with a small movie theater of, say, some 300 seats:
- Assume 28 screenings per week (four a day)
- Assume an average of 200 audience members per screening (sometimes more, sometimes less)
- Assume each audience member is paying $8 per ticket (roughly the LA average price now)
On that model, our tiny old school movie theater is making way more than the VR arcade: