AMC’s Peter Brown wasn’t born into the exhibition business, but growing up in Kansas City, he was always aware of Stan Durwood, the influential exec whose father, Edward, founded Durwood Theaters in 1920.
After college, Brown headed east to work in investment banking, specializing in service businesses like restaurants. Moving from restaurants to theaters seemed like a logical jump when Stan Durwood enticed him to come back to Kansas City in 1990 to work with AMC.
AMC recently completed a merger with the Loews Cineplex chain, giving the combined org a total of 5,672 screens in 415 theaters.
Brown has several ideas about how AMC can meet the challenges of the changing moviegoing landscape:
n Ticket prices could change according to the movie or showtime: Stay tuned for a possibly groundbreaking change such as variable pricing, he says. “The industry needs to be focused on the price/value area. The traditional approach is something that may have lived out its useful life.”
n Exhibs need to be constantly improving theaters: The experience for the customer needs to be the absolute best it can be, from concessions to auditoriums — the nuts and bolts of the moviegoing experience. “As we say at AMC, if you take care of the guest, you won’t have to worry about the rest.”
n Theaters will serve many purposes: “As we evolve to digital, there’s opportunities on the programming side,” he says — such as competitive gaming leagues using theaters during off hours.
Of course, it would help if studios made more of the movies Brown says he’d like to see: “Movies with great stories and great characters that have broad market appeal, such as PG films.”