By MIRANDA WILDER, Staff Writer
Cinemagic 10 in Portsmouth celebrated its one-year anniversary last Friday with a huge dip in ticket prices, all movies selling at $1 for the entire day.
“We figured that it was our first year there,” Deb Schimmel, marketing and advertising coordinator said, “so we figured why not sell movies for a dollar and give back to the community?”
The company first considered an indoor carnival event with face painting and cotton candy, but quickly changed to the dollar movie theme instead. Cinemagic’s opening was celebrated with a similar carnival, so they wanted to try something different by dropping ticket prices from the usual $10 to just $1 per ticket.
According to Schimmel, they were a bit worried about how the drastic change in price, even if only for a day, would affect the overall revenue. Considering they had a fairly successful year anyway, they decided to give it a try.
“We figured if we had a lot of people come in,” she said, “that they would like the facilities and then become repeat customers.”
Moviegoers ranged from regulars to first-timers, as people heard about the one-year anniversary primarily through Facebook.
“The kids wanted to see a movie,” Wayne Souza, a new customer said. “I come to the movies to take a nap.”
His kids sat next to him in the lobby, enthusiastically anticipating Strange Magic.
Both Project Almanac and The Lost were released Friday, and Schimmel anticipated the two biggest sellers to be American Sniper and Project Almanac, with concessions selling a few more snacks than usual.
As it turned out, Schimmel said, “They [the films] were all equally as popular.”
The event took some preparation, as Cinemagic needed exclusive permission from the film companies to change ticket prices, and extra staff was needed from other locations to help.
There was even a free raffle offering a chance to win Boston Bruins tickets right at the entrance to the movie screens.
Repeat customer Jayne Maclean, also seeing Strange Magic, felt the anticipated sense of gratitude, which Schimmel and co-workers were hoping to achieve.
“The dollar’s awesome,” she said with enthusiasm. Maclean lives across the street from Southgate Plaza, where the 10-screen theater is located in Portsmouth, and goes to see at least one show pretty much every week.
According to Assistant Manager Erik Surabian, Cinemagic is its own company under Zyacorp, and there was no business in the building prior to its purchase on Dec. 30, 2013.
“It was just an empty space,” he said.
“We didn’t buy anything,” she said. “There wasn’t anything there to buy. We created it.”
Schimmel also has nothing bad to say about her competitors, specifically Regal Cinemas located about 10 miles from the Southgate Plaza near Fox Run Mall.
“We’re not in a competition,” she said. “We’re just here to serve the community.”
Truly, serving the community is what they did this past weekend. Schimmel only expects this celebratory event to bring positivity to the company, leaving customers wanting more.
“Well, there’s nothing quite like seeing a movie on the big-screen,” she added with a chuckle.