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TOPIC: Old Movies

Old Movies 13 Apr 2005 08:37 #10259

  • cplav
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I posted this in another section and wasn't sure if it was the correct spot so I am reposting here.

I would love to won my own theater and have a slightly different idea for owning a theater. I would like to offer the theater as a resturant with drinks and movies too. The thing that would make this place different is to have older movies shown as well as independent movies. Some examples could be Top Gun, prequals to movies - ie Oceans 11 when Oceans 12 is coming out in theaters. I think you get the idea. The main question - is there a company that specailzes in "classic" movies for theaters or is this not really an option. I know that movies like the Rocky Horror Picture Show are seen often in the theater. It is just an idea. As I said I am new so please be kind to me.
Thanks
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Re: Old Movies 13 Apr 2005 12:27 #10260

  • mixerjv
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Old movies just don't cut it. Despite what customers might say, they simply won't come in big numbers to a movie they've already seen or can get on HBO, DVD, etc.

Rights to play the older movies are a pain to obtain and sometimes end up costing you more than current (or subrun) product.

But if you are really interested most distribuitors have "classics" divisions that have some of the older prints in 35mm. If you are connected to a non-profit, Swank can supply them.
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Re: Old Movies 14 Apr 2005 10:15 #10261

  • agoodman
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I would be happy to help you with classic titles. Criterion Pictures has the Fox library and we can supply you with 35mm, 16mm,VHS and DVD licensing of many older films. Please feel free to contact me at 800-890-9494 ext. 225.

We also handle non-theatrical licensing and rental.

Anne Goodman
Criterion Pictures
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Re: Old Movies 14 Apr 2005 15:30 #10262

We too are trying this approach. We have put in a full service restaurant and bar and are focusing on classic movies. We are also doing late night movies for teens. We won't open until June, but can answer any questions we've found out about if you would like. You'll be surprised at all the negatives people will tell you about, but never any help.



[This message has been edited by classicmovies (edited April 14, 2005).]
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Re: Old Movies 14 Apr 2005 17:36 #10263

  • leeler
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I have run classic movies twice now in my short existence. The first time during the winter of 2003 we played 'Philadelphia Story' and, frankly, we didn't know what the hell we were doin' (imagine that!). No suprise it didn't pay off.

The second time we did we ran 'Casablanca' last New Year's Eve. We ran ads before the show and got word of mouth going well in advance. While we didn't blow the doors off the place we did fill about half the seats and made a decent profit. I think we'll do it again next year but I don't think we'll do it any more than that.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Old Movies 14 Apr 2005 22:31 #10264

  • outaframe
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LEE is doing about all you can do with the old classics: a once in a while thing with a well selected picture on a special occasion... A day in, day out program of them will soon starve you out... These are too available on video, cable, etc... The people who really love a certain picture will already have it on DVD or tape and often a home theater system to play their library... Hate that fact, but it's just the way it is... Movies just aren't an exclusive thing we have a corner on any more!...
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Re: Old Movies 15 Apr 2005 08:28 #10265

I don't think anyone looks at this in the right perspective. Sure, I have a lot of movies on dvd, but watching it at home, even on my big screen tv, is NOT the same as watching it on the big screen in a movie theater. There is no comparison. A lot of the difference is the ambiance of being in a theater. Perhaps not the
theaters we have today, but the old theaters. But yes, I do agree this will not work everywhere, and a little change-up of the movies would help. We are adding a restaurant to cover expenses, the movie is basically background entertainment. I'll let everyone know how it works for us.
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Re: Old Movies 15 Apr 2005 09:34 #10266

  • Mudbrother
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I'm afraid I have to be a bit of a naysayer too. Although, ClassicMovie's approach may have some merits and show some success, here's hoping! When we re-opened our theatre after renovating, we had so many requests to do 'classic' movies. We started a classic movie club (was the best way for us to work it.) People paid a one time membership and could view all 10 movies in the series. We did one film a week, with 2 different showings. We had enough people join the club that it was worthwhile to do, but when it came down to actual attendance, it was fairly dismal. We didn't really risk much though, as we still ran our regular features and such, and the memberships covered our cost, as planned. Some of the classics that the original poster mentioned have done well for us as midnight films. I think being part of a college town is crucial to that kind of success, and even still, we've had many mediocre midnights.

We are celebrating our 75th anniversary this year, and so we've planned several events through out the year to involve the community. We're doing a film from each decade we've been open, along with an event. For example, for the '90's we ran the film Chocolat (which at the time was running everynight on A&E) and did a chocolate and wine tasting to go along with it. We have a local chocolate shop that hand makes chocolates, and a local vintner that provided wine. We charged $10 per ticket (quite reasonable I thought) and the results were surprisingly good. We had over 250 people show up for the evening, and we netted close to $1500 for the night. Now, Chocolat is no great flick, though it's not bad. I think the reason it was successful, was not the movie, but the fact that it was an 'event.'

Anyways, I've rambled on here long enough.


Rance
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Re: Old Movies 24 Apr 2005 12:35 #10267

  • RonOne50
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We play a summer series for the kids every year and while it won’t make us rich, we have had very good success with it.

The films are anywhere from one year old to 30 years old. We have always charged a reduced price for the films and we get daycares, the local Y, and some church groups. This year instead of a reduced price, we are going to do it free. The film rental from Paramount this year is only $100.00 a week.

We show them for 3 days in the middle of week in a non-theater show time usually at 2:00pm (we run three shows a day on the new product starting at 4:00 except on weekends we show 4 shows a day). We wanted to do this on DVD from one of our high-end presentation projectors we have for business meetings with power point presentations. The quality is very good and at first Paramount was going to do this but they backed out and it is film yet again this year.

We are kicking around the idea of using Criterion Pictures and doing a free family series on Saturday mornings of classic films and I think if Criterion Pictures can provide the DVD with a boot to the show DVD, we will give it a go. I am hoping for a good success for this as well and if it works I will be sure to let you know. We are in a town of 12,000 with a draw area of about 30,000.

RonOne50 (god am I really that old?)
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: Old Movies 25 Apr 2005 10:31 #10268

  • reelman
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I am in a town of 15,000 with a drawing area of an additional 30,000. I am entering my 9th summer of free admission shows for kids. I use nothing older than 1.5 years and there will be 12 weeks of shows this summer. The shows are done on Wed/Thurs. morning at 10am(and this year I'm trying a 3rd day on Fri am.) This series is by far my biggest event of the year. I do a minimum 500-600 attendance per day with some days being complete sellouts of 900.(one day 2 years ago, we had about 1100 show up on a Wed. for Elf-that was crazy) I interlock the print through 6 auditoriums and reserve 2 aud.(sometimes 3) strictly for daycares where we handle their special needs by running the popcorn and soda to them in their seats. Total attendance last year for 10 weeks on two days was just shy of 14,000 people. The town loves the series and though it is a MAJOR logistics nightmare, I not only profit well from it but have built something that gives back to the community.
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Re: Old Movies 25 Apr 2005 10:48 #10269

  • Mike Spaeth
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We do the same thing - one G & one PG-rated movie each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 am. We average around 1,200 per day. Concession per capita for the shows is roughly $1.50.
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Re: Old Movies 25 Apr 2005 11:18 #10270

  • cplav
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I contacted Anne Goodman Criterion Pictures and she was great. Her company serves as the contact for all 20th Century Fox movies. You will have to call her for rates but they do allow you to use DVD's, you can even use your own DVD and pay them the fee. It sounds like it would work.

Does your theater show second run or first run movies? In other words where do you make most of your money?

This appears to be a very interesting topic, I think there is some merit in at least looking into it for my needs.

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Re: Old Movies 13 May 2005 16:25 #10271

  • VickRock
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Is anybody still writing about this topic? Because I would love to find out more about how to obtain licensing for old movies.

I know many of you poo-poo the idea of showing them in your theatres, but I'm of the belief that specializing in old movies can create one's own niche over time.

In fact, the business plan seems to work, with only modest attendance figures at the start. The only thing I can't budget for now is the licensing. So if anyone knows any facts, I would be grateful if you were to pass them along. Thanks!
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Re: Old Movies 13 May 2005 19:22 #10272

  • revrobor
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There seems to be a state of mind today that anything that has hit DVD is an "old" film. And apparently "classics" are considered to be anything over ten years old.

To me, a classic is a film from the 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s. These films are available from Criterion or Swank in one format or another and are the very stuff I plan to use for a private "Film Club".

The film club will be either a refurbished single screen or a converted store front and admission will be to members and guests only. A yearly membership fee for individuals and families will be charged and members will be admitted for a greatly reduced ticket price while guests pay a regular price. Advertising will be done only through newsletters to members (no readerboard or media). Members will be entitled to request films and will receive other perks for their membership fee.

I came up with the private film club idea when it became clear to me that basically the distributors are attempting to run the theatres by controlling what is available. A private film club has access to a greater range of product than does a general release theatre working with distributors.

This is an idea that I believe will work in an urban area such as where I'm located and have about 800,000 people to work with.

However, if you survey your demographic and book according to their tastes I believe a classic house should work in just about any location. The added features such as food and drink should help it succeed. But make sure the food is GOOD. If you have more than one screen devote one to "family" fare.
Good luck.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
"Back In The Saddle Again"
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Old Movies 16 May 2005 19:02 #10273

  • VickRock
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Bob Allen-

Yes--the "old movies" to which I refer are the old B&W classics, from Bogart to the Marx Brothers to Fritz Lang. I also would include some relatively modern films, probably, as long as they were in keeping with a "noirish" or perhaps "classic western" style, etc.

Anyway, what I find interesting is that you'd start a film club instead of doing some sort of not-for-profit open-to-the-public theater. Do you think AMC or Loews would come after someone starting a theater that spent all day showing W.C. Fields and Abbott & Costello shorts?

I'm in a large city (Chicago), but I'd think there'd be room enough for everyone. Perhaps I'm being naive. Do you know if Loews (or whomever) ever sponsors smaller "boutique" theaters? Maybe that would be a way to keep the big corporate guys from trying to keep an old-time cinema from happening.
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