By Lori Rick, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, MacGillivray Freeman Films

“Take a look at the Sphere’s website and you’ll see how much it focuses on the ‘experience’ visitors will have.”

During the GSCA Marketing Committee’s conference call this month, our team discussed the recent opening of the Sphere in Las Vegas, and what insights, if any, we can leverage for the giant screen theater industry. Here are a few takeaways we felt were worth sharing.

The giant screen experience is alive and vital. In the visitor comments on TripAdvisor, several people made comparisons between the Sphere and the giant screen theater experience. One viewer described the Sphere as “IMAX on steroids,” while others said they preferred their local giant screen theaters over the Sphere, which they found too crowded. While none of us have a brand-new $2 billion theater space decked out with all the newest technology, we do each have our own version of this still incredibly unique giant screen theater experience—one that audiences continue to love and appreciate.

The importance of marketing the “experience.” Take a look at the Sphere’s website ( and you’ll see how much it focuses on the “experience” visitors will have. Full-screen video clips show the exciting visuals guests will encounter, while others show guests beaming in wonderment. The Sphere’s marketers put the “Sphere Experience” front and center, and make it look so exciting, you’ll want to catch the first plane to Vegas. We could all do a better job highlighting the incredible experience our theaters have to offer, starting with something as simple as adding more “must-see” excitement to our theater websites. (And make sure that visitors to your website see your theater on the home page.)

Consider using digital projection on the exterior of our theaters to promote what’s inside. The Sphere’s incredible exterior, covered in hundreds of thousands of LED screens, can be seen from miles away. How can we adapt this technology to add some extra pizzazz to our theater marketing? Some of us are already doing this. Theaters like TELUS World of Science-Edmonton and IMAX Melbourne already use digital projection to play trailers and other digital content on their exteriors, and the effects are stunning. Maybe more of us should give this a try!

Photo: Sphere Entertainment