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Movie pro suggests how to bring fans back to theaters

Written by Mara Siegler

March 21, 2022 | 9:24pm

Sony Pictures Classics co-head Tom Bernard — who is heading to the Oscars this weekend with Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers” — has some novel ideas about getting moviegoers back into the theaters.

“I would like to see a lot of major theater chains put together a ‘bring a friend back to the movies for free,’ I’d like to see Tuesday night movie discounts,” Bernard told us at a Cinema Society screening of “Mothering Sunday.”

“There are all these little gimmicks that get people back to the theater. And once you see a movie on the big screen, it’s just not like watching it on your TV.”

Bernard — who has 41 Oscar wins and 181 nominations under his belt — also noted how one major theater chain has been sending out emails that have been effective.

“You are getting an email that is almost personalized, like ‘Hey Tom, what are you doing this weekend? There is an art movie you might like.’ . . . The theaters have the data.”

The Motion Picture Association’s annual theme report states that the US and Canadian box office reached $4.5 billion in 2021. That’s up 105 percent from 2020, but it’s still lower than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Deadline.

Bernard confirmed there has been a shift in audience tastes for high-end films. “People are looking for something light and [to] change the mood of the last two years,” he said.

“Mothering Sunday” stars Olivia Colman, Colin Firth and Odessa Young. Other guests at the star-studded screening included Pablo Schreiber, Bennett Miller, Jennifer Beals and Gina Gershon.

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