Summer is traditionally a great time for movie theaters, since they can capitalize on well-made — and well-marketed — mega-hits like 2022′s “Top Gun: Maverick” and 2023′s “Barbenheimer” craze.

But the pre-summer period typically involves a slump in ticket sales, and theaters have to get creative to overcome it.

Here are some of the strategies movie theaters use to increase profits as they wait for big summer movies:

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Rereleases

Movie rereleases — whether tied to an anniversary or a themed series — have become more common.

CNN recently highlighted “Regal Forever Favorites” and AMC’s “Halfway to Halloween” festival as examples of recent tie-in series incorporating multiple films over multiple weeks.

And some theaters will soon present “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” on its 25th anniversary, as the Deseret News previously reported.

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Exclusive merch

Ticket sales are important to movie studios, but the ability to sell merchandise is also crucial.

Regal sold Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man toys and green-colored popcorn to promote “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” according to CNN.

And when Taylor’s Swift’s concert film from The Eras Tour hit theaters, AMC sold Swift-themed popcorn buckets and cups, as the Deseret News previously reported.

Focus on premium formats

Watching movies on larger, premium screens has become more and more popular. According to Variety, about 20% of ticket sales for “Dune 2″ and “Oppenheimer” came from IMAX theaters.

Theaters are able to charge more for a premium experience.

“People are seeing a trip to the theater as a special treat, so enhancing these premium experiences could be a key differentiator for theaters in today’s landscape,” Ray Subers, the head of film for National Research Group, an entertainment and tech firm, told CNN.

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Fighting the pre-summer slump

With special film events, merchandise and other strategies, movie theaters are attempting to supplement profits during their slowest months, according to CNN.

John Smith, the senior film programmer of Alamo Drafthouse, a specialty theater chain, compared so-called “dump months” to “hurricane season” in an interview with CNN — it’s not possible to avoid the downturn, but theaters can prepare.

And then they can (hopefully) enjoy a surge of moviegoers in the summer. The next few months will involve the release of many potential blockbuster hits, including “Deadpool 3,″ “Despicable Me 4″ and “Inside Out 2,” among many other films, per CNN.

“There are 15 franchise films scheduled between June and late December whose predecessor earned over $150 million at the US box office (such as ‘Moana,’ ‘Bad Boys’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’), which suggests that theaters could see healthy attendance until the end of the year,” CNN reported.

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