VOX Cinemas’ extensive guest research

VOX Cinemas’ extensive guest research reveals that cinema industry will bounce back as 98% of respondents are eager to return to the big screen experience

  • Three quarters of respondents (75%) are eager to return to the cinema within just four weeks of reopening
  • Physical distancing in queues is the most important health and safety measure for consumers when returning to the cinema
  • Internationally, cinema attendances are growing rapidly in markets that have reopened

Dubai, UAE, 16 June 2020: VOX Cinemas, the dedicated cinema arm of Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia has revealed findings of a new survey which demonstrate that the cinema industry in the MENA region will bounce back as an overwhelming 98% of respondents intend to return to movie theatres soon after reopening.

The research was conducted in waves between April to May 2020 by Majid Al Futtaim’s Happiness Lab — its proprietary market research online community in the UAE — and surveyed 1,240 respondents during the temporary closures of cinema, leisure and entertainment experiences. The research findings explored consumer sentiment as well as the health and safety measures that consumers would expect to see when returning to the cinema.

After dining out at a restaurant or café, going to the cinema was the second-most missed activity during restrictions and 75% of respondents stated they are eager to resume their cinema-going habit within just four weeks of reopening.

When asked to identify the top safety measures that would make them feel most comfortable about returning to the cinema, physical distancing in queues was deemed the most important by 86% of respondents, with 81% citing a preference for advance contactless booking of tickets and F&B online to avoid queuing altogether. Other factors encouraging the movie-going population to return include staff wearing masks and gloves (81%) and physical distancing between seats (73%).

Commenting on the research, Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment said, “We remain fundamentally confident about the future and resilience of the cinema industry. This research demonstrates that the industry will bounce back and the culture of cinema-going will resume. We have proactively reimagined the guest experience at all of the Majid Al Futtaim entertainment experiences, including VOX Cinemas, Ski Dubai and Ski Egypt, Magic Planet and Dreamscape, and we are delighted that the measures put in place are all aligned with the feedback that was evidenced in these surveys.”

Mr Mitchell added “Internationally, cinemas have reopened across Europe and Asia, as well as in a number of American states, and attendance is increasing week on week. The theatrical box office in the cinema-going nation of South Korea, for example, has recently showed a significant sign of recovery, with weekend ticket sales reaching 402,000, a week-on-week gain of 112%. These figures bode well for the future of cinema and we are confident that ticket sales in other markets will follow a similar trend.”

Jocelyn Davies, Head of Customer Experience and Insights at Majid Al Futtaim, Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas added, “Listening to our guests is a core value at Majid Al Futtaim, and during our period of closure, it was essential to understand customer sentiment to enable us to develop new concepts and evolve the entire cinema experience. We are delighted that the new measures included have reassured our guests, with over 93% of guests who have returned since reopening being satisfied/extremely satisfied with the new protective measures that we have in place.

In addition to its already stringent sanitisation standards, VOX Cinemas has introduced extensive precautionary measures including disinfecting auditoriums using fogging machines and sanitising surfaces after every guest interaction. It is also now mandatory for employees to wear masks and gloves, and all team members have their temperatures checked on arrival for shifts.

Safe distancing ambassadors have been introduced and instructional signage has been installed to guide guests on best physical distancing practices. The capacity in auditoriums has been reduced and seats in front of, behind and next to a guest’s selection will be left vacant to maintain physical distancing. The occupancy has also been decreased in other public areas such as restrooms and elevators.

Guests can enjoy a queue less cinema experience by advance booking their tickets and F&B options online as well as a contactless collection service. To further minimize physical contact and exposure, VOX Cinemas offers contactless payment options and guests can self-scan their tickets before entering the auditorium.

About Majid Al Futtaim                                                                     

Founded in 1992, Majid Al Futtaim is the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

A remarkable business success story, Majid Al Futtaim started from one man’s vision to transform the face of shopping, entertainment and leisure to ‘create great moments for everyone, every day’. It has since grown into one of the United Arab Emirates’ most respected and successful businesses spanning 16 international markets, employing more than 44,000 people, and obtaining the highest credit rating (BBB) among privately-held corporates in the region.

Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates 27 shopping malls, 13 hotels and four mixed-use communities, with further developments underway in the region. The shopping malls portfolio includes Mall of the Emirates, Mall of Egypt, City Centre malls, My City Centre neighbourhood centres, and four community malls which are in joint venture with the Government of Sharjah. The Company is the exclusive franchisee for Carrefour in a number of markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, operating a portfolio of more than 300 outlets.

Majid Al Futtaim operates more than 500 VOX Cinemas screens and 37 Magic Planet family entertainment centres across the region, in addition to iconic leisure and entertainment facilities such as Ski Dubai, iFly Dubai, Dreamscape and Ski Egypt, among others. The Company is parent to the consumer finance company ‘Najm’, and a Fashion, Home and Specialty retail business representing international brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, AllSaints, lululemon athletica, Crate & Barrel, Maisons du Monde and LEGO. In addition, Majid Al Futtaim operates Enova, a facility and energy management company, through a joint venture operation with Veolia, a global leader in optimized environment resource management.

About Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas

Owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, VOX Cinemas is the cinema arm of
Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa. VOX Cinemas is the Middle East’s most innovative and customer-focused exhibitor, and the fastest growing cinema business in the MENA region. With over 50 locations totalling 514 screens across the region, including 201 screens in the UAE, 15 screens in Lebanon, 63 screens in Oman, 30 screens in Bahrain, 28 screens in Egypt, 71 screens in Saudi Arabia and 17 screens in Kuwait, VOX Cinemas is the Middle East’s largest and most rapidly growing exhibitor.

Across the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Lebanon, the company is undergoing a AED1.2-billion (USD326-million) investment to expand to operate 300 screens by 2020. In addition, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas will invest AED1.96 billion (USD517 million) to develop 600 screens across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by 2023. Tailoring every cinema location to the surrounding market place and customer preferences, VOX Cinemas offers a mix of experiences including luxury concepts, THEATRE and GOLD premium cinema experience. Another signature VOX Cinemas concept, MAX is the mega-screen designed for the biggest blockbusters and features Dolby Atmos surround sound technology. In addition to debuting ICE IMMERSIVE cinema experience in the region, VOX Cinemas was also the first to introduce IMAX with Laser to the Middle East and the only exhibitor to offer IMAX with Sapphire. The company also offers a multisensory movie-watching concept, 4DX. For young movie fans and families, VOX Cinemas offers the only cinema dedicated to children, KIDS. Complementing its portfolio of world-class experiences, VOX Cinemas offers OUTDOOR, an open-air concept.

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