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The Main Event: Regal Theatres/Extreme Weight Loss




By Selena Fragassi

 


When it comes to rolling out the red carpet, few venues can do it better than a movie theatre. In addition to the inherent Hollywood glamour and incredible picture and sound, nowadays, even fancy catering and cocktail options can upgrade regular concessions into a celebrity-style party for discerning groups. It’s exactly the backdrop a Denver-based health facility was looking for—and found—when they hosted a premiere-worthy, high-end donor event at Regal Theatres’ UA Denver Pavilions Stadium in May 2014.

The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, on the grounds of University of Colorado Denver, had been a filming site for ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss” reality show, which provided a unique opportunity to premiere an episode of the latest season and bring in show producers and past participants for a special, ticketed event that invited previous donors.

“The content was key,” says Barry Brown, director of national events and sales for Regal Theatres who helped coordinate the event. “Organizers wanted to make sure it was showcased in best possible facility.” For Regal, that was the easy part. Like most theatres, the Knoxville, Tennessee-based chain has state-of-the-art projection and sound already built into its facilities, and it has used that to its benefit in running a successful “meeting and a movie” program at nearly all its 571 national theatres since 2002.

“We have seen that [planners] are looking for non-traditional venues outside of hotels and conference centers to host meetings and events,” says Brown of the chain’s effort over the years to boost its profile in this market. “One of the difficult things about an event sometimes is driving attendance, but there is still a huge perceived value to a movie and it can be a way to get people to show up.” That was certainly the case for the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center event, which had quite a full house with 250 people in attendance.

Upon arriving, guests were greeted to their own private area apart from the normal movie-going public. “We created a special entrance just for this group with about 50 feet of red carpet, event signage and a step and repeat [for photos],” says Brown.

The carpet led to another sectioned-off area that continued the glamorous Oscar feel. Regal brought in high-top tables, pipe and draping, ambient lighting, flowers and props including movie posters. “We used our poster cases as a branding opportunity for both ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ and the Anschutz Center,” says Brown. As well, high-end food stations and a bar with beer, wine and cocktails allowed guests to dine, drink and mingle before the main event, which was held in a larger auditorium Regal had specifically chosen ahead of time due to the size of the group.

“Our mantra is to always take a consultative approach,” says Brown who further notes his team spent a good deal of time working with Anschutz to make sure they could visualize how their event would look in the theatre, which was vastly different from the restaurants where they normally held donor events. “As we work with the client and scope out the event we can understand their goals and budget and figure out the best solution for them. We want planners to be focused in on the message and their attendees as opposed to dealing with logistics and equipment. We take care of that part.”

For Regal that also means providing event staffing, on-site registration and marketing tools. “Many times the perception is that ‘it’s a movie theatre so who will be handling my event?’ but we have an entire department with years of experience dedicated solely to planning meetings and events in our theatres,” says Brown, noting one more huge benefit. “Our calendars are open. Outside of Friday and Saturday nights we have an entire week where we can provide facilities that work well for events, especially as more and more companies invest in producing high-definition content. Some of the best productions in the world are shown here day in and day out, so planners can use that to their advantage, too.”

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