After Bumper 2019, Fathom Events Announce 2020 TCM Big Screen Classics Line Up

2019 has been a bumper year for Fathom Events due, in no small part, to the company’s thriving relationship with TCM.

“We’ve seen significant growth,” explained Tom Lucas, vice president of studio relations at Fathom Events. “Since the series started, we have added titles and witnessed attendance rise by more than 25%, or year-over-year growth of about 5% in terms of ticket sales, and a slightly bigger increase of about 27% in terms of box office. The year isn’t over yet, but we expect 2019 to be our biggest year yet.”

In 2019, many of the TCM Big Screen Classics events played to full houses. The event’s 2020 lineup includes several gems that are likely to continue that trend. Among the films on the slate are Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Psycho – which will celebrate its 60th anniversary, The Color Purple, A League of Their Own, The Blues Brothers and Airplane! – which will both celebrate their 40th anniversaries, Ghost – which will celebrate its 30th anniversary, Annie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Fiddler on the Roof, and King Kong – Kong’s inclusion in the TCM Big Screen Classics program marks the first national theatrical release of the 1933 feature in more than 60 years. The 2020 season kicks off in January with An American in Paris.

“In 2019, our most-attended movies in the TCM Big Screen Classics series were The Wizard of Oz from Warner Bros, Steel Magnolias from Sony Pictures, Alien from 20th Century Fox, and To Kill A Mockingbird from Universal Pictures,” Lucas explained. “What’s noteworthy is that across the board, from different genres and different decades, we saw strong results. It’s always a pleasure to see the familiar and favorite movies doing as well as, and in some cases better than, current releases on a per-screen revenue basis, showcasing how enduring these movies are.”

“Audiences are always hungry for experiences they can’t get at home, and while many of these films can be seen on TV, we’ve seen over and over again how much more exciting audiences say the moviegoing experience is. No matter how great your home system is, there is something truly magical about the big-screen experience that can’t be replicated in a living room. It is also very common to hear the audience break out in applause at the end of the screening.”

Thanks to TCM Big Screen Classics and other events, in January of this year alone, Fathom screenings grossed more than $11 million at the box office, the highest-grossing month for the company at that point. 

Building on successes like that, continued growth is very much the focus for Fathom Events. Lucas confirmed: “The network of exhibitors is expanding, and as it does, we see more and more locations eager to play these films. On average, we’ve seen classic films grow from about 300 to 400 screens per title to about 600 or 700 screens. That means we are reaching parts of the country that don’t have repertory houses, so we’re bringing these films to more and more movie fans.”

2020 will be the fifth year for the TCM Big Screen Classics series.

“The selection process involves several criteria, including critical acclaim, box office success, iconic star power, and an enduring fan base,” he explained. “The titles are selected by TCM, our studio partners, and Fathom. We try to come up with a combination of films that are consistently popular, that span different decades, as well as movies that are not often seen in theatres. In many cases, the titles have been restored or remastered, so they look and sound better than ever on the big screen.”

Lucas added: “In a nutshell, we’re growing and expanding, both in size and in our variety of offerings. Over the past few years, as awareness has grown, we are now seeing a wonderful mix of ages. When you go see one of these films, it’s perhaps a little surprising to find out that the audiences aren’t simply people who remember seeing the movies the first time around. They’re often younger people who know that if they see these special movies in a theater, they’ll have a truly memorable night.”

Tickets for all films in the 2020 TCM Big Screen Classics series go on sale via the Fathom Events website on Friday, December 6, 2019.

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