Construction has started at the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 in Clovis to replace every seat in the complex with large loungers that will be adjustable to multiple positions. Work is in progress in eight of the theaters and is tentatively set to be completed Oct. 14. Construction is expected to be done on the remaining eight theaters by Dec. 15, just in time for the Christmas holiday releases.
This comes on the heels of the announcement that Regal Manchester Stadium 16 will replace every seat in its complex with recliner-style chairs.
Changing the seats at Sierra Vista Cinemas means a reduction of approximately 40% of the current available seating in the theater complex, but there are no plans to raise ticket prices to make up the difference.
“It’s not about the number of seats but the people in them,” says Dan Tocchini, president and chief executive officer of SR Entertainment Group, owners of the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16. “What we have found in our other theaters where we have made these changes is that business goes up substantially.”
Never miss a local story.
What we have found in our other theaters where we have made these changes is that business goes up substantially.
Dan Tocchini, president and CEO of SR Entertainment Group, owners of the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16
The company will need such a boost here as the change to what the industry calls “fat seats” is costing the company about $3 million.
Not only will the changes mean more comfortable seating at the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16, but soon moviegoers will be able to book in advance the exact seat they want. That means no more rushing to get to the theater early to avoid a front-row seat. The ticket will be good for the exact seat selected, either through the company’s online site or at the box office.
Tocchini is surprised the movie theater industry didn’t start selling reserved seating years ago. It’s a process that has long been the norm for live theater.
“Most people don’t realize this is changing the industry. The wide chairs make it feel like you are sitting in your living room,” Tocchini says. “Now, you won’t see people lined up early for a movie so they don’t have to sit on the front row.
Dan Tocchini is surprised the movie theater industry didn’t start selling reserved seating years ago. It’s a process that has long been the norm for live theater.
“It also will stop teenagers who on Fridays and Saturdays like to go from theater to theater. Now, every seat will be reserved, and we will know who is supposed to be sitting there.”
In addition to the construction, Sierra Vista Cinemas has applied for a liquor license with Alcohol Beverage Control to sell wine and beer. The theater is following a trend across the country that began more than a decade ago.
Along with selling fine wines and craft beer, Sierra Vista plans to add an upgraded food menu that will include items such as pizza and salads. Each of the new seats will have a table that can be moved over to use for dining.