Movie theaters are supposed to provide the ultimate movie watching experience. Between the advanced sound, the gargantuan screen, and the dark room, moviegoers are supposed to experience something they can’t recreate anywhere else. Since people are paying for the experience, where they choose to go is generally an important decision. Often, people have a favorite theater that they regularly attend, and I am no exception. Showbiz Cinemas, in my hometown of Granbury, Texas, is always my first choice for movie watching. But why is this so? Why do people even have favorite theaters? Oftentimes, it is the atmosphere of a theater that entices people to attend. With that being said, just as “arguments are composed with specific audiences in mind, and their success depends, in part, on how well their strategies, content, and language meet the expectations of the audience,” (Lunsford 96) so too are movie theaters. They must use ethos, pathos, and logos to make their theater appealing to everyone.
Unlike other theaters, the audience of Showbiz Cinemas is fundamentally different. Because Showbiz Cinemas is in a small town, rather than a big city, and it is the only movie theater within a 40-minute drive, people’s expectations of the theater are different. They don’t want or expect something grand or flashy. What they want is a theater that feels homey and personal, something you’d find in a small town. As Andrea Lunsford asserts, “emotions can add real muscle to arguments” (Lunsford 98), and my emotional pull to the theater is the main reason I go there.
In order to cultivate this emotional connection and pull, Showbiz Cinemas uses a variety of aspects to create a family atmosphere filled with comfort. This becomes immediately apparent as you drive up to the theater. Although it happens to be in the center of town, it is not on the main road, nor is it surrounded by other shopping centers. It’s bordered by country land with grass and trees that contribute to the small town, country feel that people want. Inside, the theater is small but quaint. Once you walk in, you are instantly in the main lobby. The walls of the theater are all painted a light blue, and as Giannetti declares, “cool colors…tend to suggest tranquility…and serenity” (Giannetti 22). Directly in front of you lies the concession stand that’s smells entice you to buy snacks for your movie. To the right of the entrance is an arcade that continually makes noise on its own in order to entice kids and the kids at heart to spend their money. To continue the family friendly feel, a Monsters University cardboard standee of Mike and Sully holding ID cards was in the entrance. One of the photos was missing, so that children could stand behind it and get their pictures taken. Further in, there was another standee of The Croods accompanied with vines and flowers hanging from the ceiling. These decorations serve to make the theater more personal, welcoming, and friendly. It might not be very sophisticated or high end, but again, that is not an audience they are trying to capture.
Showbiz also uses ethos to build their character. Above their concession stand hangs a big poster on the wall proclaiming, “The United Way of Hood County supports and thanks Showbiz Cinemas.” This immediately builds respect from moviegoer toward the theater because they support out local community and charities. This is further shown through the local advertisements running onscreen before he movie starts. Instead of showing adds for T-Mobile, AT&T, or some other corporate, nationwide company, the theater gets their support from the community. This creates a “quick and…irresistible connection between [the] audience” (Lunsford 44) and the theater. It produces an instant respect for the theater that otherwise wouldn’t have been there.
Furthermore, aspects of the theater use logos in an attempt to make the building amenable to the customer. Throughout the theater, the floors are stained concrete. Not only is this logical because in a theater many spills are bound to occur, but they also are aesthetically pleasing. In the theater rooms, the lights are also logically placed. In some theaters I’ve been in, the lights are too high up on the wall. Even though they dim them during the movie, they are unfortunately still distracting. To avoid this, Showbiz logically placed their dimming lights closer to the ground. They also placed lights underneath the step railings. This way the lights are not obtrusive or distracting to the eyes because they won’t shine upward, only downward. The theaters also have stadium seating, which is logically appealing because everyone in the audience will be able to see the screen.
Overall, the theater arguably uses the three appeals well in order to create an amenable environment and entice its customers. In using these, Showbiz created a small town, personal, family friendly atmosphere that supports the community. In doing so, they created connections between their customers and themselves that encourage customer loyalty. Ever since the theater opened when I was little, I have been attending it. When I walk through the door, past memories flood my mind and encourage me to come back. Because of this I gave the movie theater 3 out of 3 tickets. I hardly ever visit any other movie theater, and when I do, I constantly find myself comparing it to mine at home, even if mine's not as pretty or high end as the others.