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2 New York Movie Theaters Experiment With Reserved Seats

Reserved seating is going to the movies in a program that will begin here this month and could spread throughout the country.

With the new service, large groups could sit together - even if they’re late.

“Your seats are waiting for you,” said Andrew Jarecki, chief executive officer of MovieFone.

The New York-based telephone ticketing service is introducing reserved seating with Toronto-based Cineplex Odeon, which operates 1,600 theaters in North America.

The service will be phased in at two Manhattan theaters beginning in the middle of this month and customer response will determine if it spreads throughout the city and beyond.

Moviegoers buying seats by phone or at the box office will be asked if they want to sit in the front, middle or rear. Right, center or left? On the aisle? And their tickets will carry seat numbers.

Reserved seating will cost filmgoers nothing, but theaters hope to benefit from extra candy and popcorn sales when customers don’t have to rush to grab seats.

Some aren’t sure about the idea, however.

Ed Nason, rolling his bicycle up to the Guild 50th theater in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, said he likes the flexibility of unreserved seats.

“You never know who’s sitting around you at the movies - you can get some teenage yo-yos screaming and yelling,” he said.

But Enrique Nieves, a messenger delivering two films to the theater, disagreed.

“It’s a great idea,” he said. “You’d really save time if you didn’t have to walk all over looking for a seat.”


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