Cinemas Worldwide Prepare for a New Era with Strategic Investments

Driven by evolving audience preferences and a fresh perspective on cinema as an immersive experience, cinemas worldwide are undergoing a rapid transformation


The cinema industry is experiencing a significant transformation. With cinema now viewed as a holistic customer experience, various factors influence moviegoers, including screen formats such as IMAX and Dolby, food and beverage offerings, parking, and family friendliness.


Recognizing these needs, exhibitors worldwide are making strategic investments in new builds, refurbishments, and technology. According to the Global Cinema Federation (GCF), exhibitors are projected to spend around US$2 billion globally in 2023-2024, showcasing their confidence in the future of the big screen experience.




Out of the total US$2 billion investment, US$1 billion is expected to go towards new builds, US$600 million towards refurbishments, and US$400 million towards technology. Now that we know which areas exhibitors are investing in, let’s also break down the major factors driving them to embark on this substantial level-up:


Enhancing the Immersive Cinema Experience

To stand out from home viewing, cinemas are investing in modern amenities such as in-seat dining, luxury recliners, and interactive games. This creates a more immersive and social atmosphere where watching a movie becomes a complete experience. From arriving at the theater to enjoying photo opportunities, giveaways, product samples, and lobby activities, the cinema visit must be memorable.


Rise of Luxury Cinema

Affluent moviegoers see cinema as an essential part of their social lives, and prefer theaters with luxurious amenities. A recent YouGov survey, reported by the Video Advertising Bureau, found that 73% of affluent moviegoers with household incomes of US$100,000 or more favor theaters offering unique amenities and fine dining, enhancing their overall experience.


Popularity of Premium Formats

IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and other premium formats are gaining popularity with more and more titles being made for these experiences. Cinemas are investing in these formats to provide superior viewing options, meeting the growing demand for high-quality cinematic experiences.


Increasing Social Presence

Google Trends analytics show a surge in searches when a movie is announced or stars are attached. When trailers are released, fans flock to social media, turning awareness into excitement. This anticipation lingers until the movie hits theaters. Hence, exhibitors recognize the need to be part of this conversation through their online presence and maintaining engagement. Cinemas announcing social media competitions with big prizes are prime examples of leveraging this trend.


Strong Lineup of 2025 Releases

With several highly anticipated blockbusters, including the most “filmed for IMAX” releases in a year, set for 2025, cinemas are leveling up to handle the influx of eager moviegoers and offer the best possible experience for audiences.


These strategic investments demonstrate the industry’s commitment to evolving and enhancing the cinema experience, ensuring it remains a beloved pastime for audiences worldwide.



Source: Global Cinema Federation, VAB News