iPic Files For Bankruptcy; What That Could Signal for the Future of Luxury Cinemas

     August 6, 2019

iPic Entertainment is considered one of the first theater chains to feature luxury, dine-in moviegoing. This thing is, now there’s an abundance of competition in that department and even more when it comes to theaters with the perk of recliner seating. According to iPic CEO and founder Hamid Hashemi, that’s part of the reason why the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Hashemi exclusively told Variety the following:

“When we started this business back in 2007 there was nobody doing this type of dine-in, affordable, luxury experience,” said Hashemi. “Eventually the rest of the industry woke up. Our model inspired others to upgrade their circuits and the competition became more fierce.”

Hashemi also told the outlet that, despite the situation, it’s “business as usual.” Apparently the plan is to continue showing movies with the same management team, loyalty program and level of service. He added, “This is a restructuring of our balance sheet. It’s not an operational issue.” However, Hashemi did admit that the 444 individuals who hold the company’s common stock are at risk of losing their investment. Hashemi also predicted iPic could be a good purchase for a private equity player or another theater chain.

iPic only has 16 locations so this situation should only affect select moviegoers but it does beg the question, is this the start of a larger shift in the sector? There’s more competition in the luxury theater department, ticket prices are through the roof and, on top of that, streaming services are taking over more of the market than ever. Why pay all that money for a movie ticket, popcorn and soda when you can stay home sweet home binging a show like Stranger Things on a high-quality at-home system?

I, for one, can see a future where moviegoing is less casual in a sense. Going to the theater is only for the biggest releases (like an Avengers Endgame or a Lion King) with recliners, reserved seating, and all the high-end perks. Everything else? At-homing viewing courtesy of streaming services. Sadly that might limit communal viewing experiences, but at least all of the latest consumer products out there could still bring high quality picture and sound into homes.

For more on this story and speculation on the future of luxury cinemas, check out today’s episode of Collider Movie Talk at the top of this article! The team also discusses Gemma Chan and Barry Keoghan possibly joining Marvel’s The Eternals.

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