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TOPIC: Visiting a Theater for Possible Purchase

Visiting a Theater for Possible Purchase 18 May 2005 06:34 #10332

  • mannooss
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for the great posts to this site in the past, they have all been very helpful.

Next week I'll be visiting a small theater for possible purchase. I have never owned a theater before and was wondering if anyone had suggestions on the types of questions I should ask the owner and what I should keep my eyes open for. I've provided details below.

- It is an active/operational 2 screen theater
- Located in a small town with other theaters 15 miles away in other towns.
- Built in the 1930s.
- All equpiment is new

I appreciate your advice and suggestions! Thank you.

PJ
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Re: Visiting a Theater for Possible Purchase 18 May 2005 07:17 #10333

  • mannooss
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Sorry, one other thing (in case it wasn't clear); the theater is privately owned and not by one of the big guys.

If that's redundant, I apologize


PJM
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Re: Visiting a Theater for Possible Purchase 18 May 2005 23:15 #10334

  • revrobor
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First of all, find out why the owner is selling it. If it's for reasons other than lack of sufficient revenue (health, retirement, etc.) fine. If the owner hasn't been making it financially check his booking practices from the past and compare them to the demographic of the area along with what he sells at the concession stand and the prices he charges there and at the BO. Then take this info to someone who is or has successfully operated a theatre and ask for advice.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
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Re: Visiting a Theater for Possible Purchase 19 May 2005 19:34 #10335

  • revrobor
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I should add that you want to check out the booth, seats and concessions equipment to make sure you don't have a major purchase right off the bat.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
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Re: Visiting a Theater for Possible Purchase 22 May 2005 13:49 #10336

  • BECKWITH1
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I find myself wondering why the equipment is new? Is the current owner experienced in the movie business or did he just open? Did he spend too much on his equipment to make it financially? Most of us independents don't have new equipment. Most of us either use the equipment that was installed years ago or we get our hands on equipment coming out of closed theaters. Older equipment generally works well at affordable cost and the profit potential of most theaters doesn't allow the purchase of too much new equipment except as upgrades.
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Re: Visiting a Theater for Possible Purchase 24 May 2005 22:54 #10337

  • tratcliff
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Since the current owner is an indepedent, INSIST that you have access to all the books, esp box office reports.
The first theatre that I looked at buying turned out to have a rep as not necessarily reporting all the admissions.

If you are serious about owning a theatre (sounds like you are), you should hook up with a booker BEFORE you buy.
A booker familiar with the territory will be able to verify what the owner is telling you as far as how feasible the theatre's business drawing area is, competition, etc.
Plus a booker has access to Rentrak and EDI box office info for the theatre (assuming they are currently reporting to one or both).
The booker may also be able to find out what reputation the theatre has with the distributors. A bad theatre rep could possibly make things for difficult to get off the ground, since you are new to the business.

I guess generally I am saying don't always believe everything at face value and/or what the owner says. Do your own homework to verify what he says.

Now that I've said all this negative stuff, here's a positive note wishing you the best and hoping that it turns out to be a good deal for you!!
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