Carmike Amping Up Marketing for Sundance Cinemas

Dave McNary
Variety

A year after acquiring Sundance Cinemas, Carmike is amping up its marketing efforts for the arthouse chain with a new brand strategy, Variety has learned exclusively.

The effort aims to heighten customer awareness of the five locations, according to Rob Collins, Carmike’s chief marketing officer at Carmike Cinemas.

“It’s a place unlike the multiplexes, where people want to come before and stay afterwards,” he said.

The rebrand includes a newly redesigned website, logo, posters, on-screen animation, concession screens, and menus. Each of the theaters will also embrace local communities through artisanal concessions, gallery spaces for regional artists, and locally-sourced food items.

Carmike Cinemas — the nation’s fourth largest movie chain — acquired Sundance Cinemas for $36 million in cash in October 2015. The deal added 37 screens and five theaters to Carmike’s network, including locations in San Francisco, West Hollywood, Houston, Seattle, and Madison, Wis.

The chain, which had been owned by actor Robert Redford‘s Sundance Group, launched in Wisconsin in 2007 with the aim of showcasing independent, documentary, and foreign-language films along with some studio projects.

“We really wanted to revitalize the unique brand that is Sundance Cinemas through this project, and saw it as an opportunity to leverage founder Robert Redford’s vision,” Collins said. “We landed on several key ideas: a shared spirit, intimate atmosphere, and a connection to the natural environment which is such an inspiration for creative expression. The physical spaces and décor of our cinemas have always reflected that from an experiential standpoint. Now the supporting marketing elements and the online customer journey better match the experience.”

Carmike tapped Hollywood-based branding-marketing agency Troika for the initiative.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly named Cinemark, instead of Carmike, as the owner of Sundance Cinemas.

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