Japanese Movie Theater Gift Shops

Japanese Ironman Movie Book

Full-color, Japanese movie book for Ironman 3

America is a country where accumulating as much as possible is quite normal for any business. Most successful organizations, from MacDonald’s to Walmart to Apple to Amazon, have to strike that ever so delicate balance between getting customers to spend as much as possible while providing as much value as possible. There are a number of companies that have it down to a science: Cross-sells and up-sells, and bundles, oh my!

The best companies are able to accomplish this without you even knowing what’s happening. But isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? When you want to buy something, it will naturally happen. When something seems like a genuinely good deal, you’ll be more naturally inclined to buy, right?

I went to go see Ironman 3 a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. I can’t say Ironman was one of my favorite comic book heroes coming up, but MAN it’s hard not to like the way Robert Downey, Jr. and the production team portrayed him in those movies.

I liked the movie enough to buy one of those full-color, movie booklets that they sell in Japanese theater gift shops. I have seen these stores in every theater I have been to in Japan, but never once have I bought anything. I really just wanted to see what one of these shops was like. This movie booklet cost me 700 yen. A pretty clever way to increase theater revenues if you ask me.

I can’t say that all of the item in a Japanese gift shop are winners. Some pre-movie screens had advertisements for shop products. I saw one product that really just seemed to be reaching a bit. It was was something like a notepad or something with an anime character on it. Despite how unappealing some of the products might be, Japanese moviegoers buy the hell out of some movie merchandise. There are ALWAYS people in those stores!

To be fair though, it makes sense here. Japan doesn’t get every American film…not even close. It’s actually one of those pet peeves of m

I started wondering, why have I never seen these types of stores in the theaters I was in back home in Georgia? With so many businesses having the tendency to sell related things to increase their bottom line, why not theaters? It seems like a logical progression.

Movie goer watches cool film,
Movie goer is on a movie high after film,
Movie goer is funneled through a gift shop,
Movie goer buys movie paraphernalia.

Movie Theater Gift Shop Japan 2

Some of the products in one Japanese movie gift shop.

I think an American moviegoer is going to be a bit more leery about stuff like that and I think theaters know it. A US movie goer has already been charged to death for overpriced popcorn and soda and other snacks. Maybe some executive was of the business mindset that people go to the movie theaters to enjoy themselves, not to be sold. So let’s just jack up snack prices and ticket prices, and call it a day.

I’m sure the movie theater shop model has already been tested and it must have fallen flat.

Granted, I haven’t been to a U.S. theater in over five years, so maybe things have changed. Does America have movie gift shops where you live?

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