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TOPIC: county fair

county fair 07 Aug 2005 17:56 #10708

  • leeler
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I just got smacked down hard from the county fair. My attendance as of late has been pretty good but this weekend was about one third of what I was expecting. We played Batman which is a helluva good movie and deserves better. Any sage words of advice when a big event like that comes to town? Should I remain open this week next year or move up my vacation?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: county fair 07 Aug 2005 18:18 #10709

  • wimovieman
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I always pray for 2 evenings of rain--but am happy with one. I also use times like this to play off softer product escpecially in a soft year. So far the fairs in my area have been way down in attendance, even though weather has been too nice. Most families I have talked to are stating "too expensive".
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Re: county fair 07 Aug 2005 18:28 #10710

  • BurneyFalls
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Our fair is Labor Day weekend. Takes the sails out of my sales for sure. I will close my new theatre--the fair is in that town, and play March of the Penguins in Burney--18 miles away. I can only hope for the best.
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Re: county fair 07 Aug 2005 19:39 #10711

  • leeler
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We have been planning on closing for two weeks during the slack time between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Maybe next year I'll move up one of those weeks to county fair week.....
"What a crazy business"
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Re: county fair 08 Aug 2005 00:41 #10712

  • outaframe
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Way back when, I used to close through the mid-week during Fair Week, but a few years later I started staying open as though the Fair didn't exist, and have done some of my best late summer business during that period... However, the 4th of July and Labor Day are disasters here, and unless the 4th falls on a Friday or Saturday I close on the 4th, and normally close all of Labor Day week as my vacation time... Every location seems to have its own unique slack time, ya have to do whatever works best for your situation...
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Re: county fair 08 Aug 2005 02:46 #10713

  • revrobor
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How about doing a cross-plug tie-in with the fair and offering discount admissions or free popcorn or soda to those who present a fair ticket stub at the boxoffice? It may have to be a late show.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: county fair 08 Aug 2005 12:07 #10714

  • puzzlegut
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We've noticed reduced business during special events this summer. The mall where we lease our theater from had a fair in the parking lot in front of our theater (something we weren't informed on or even asked about) and business that weekend was very low. There was a big free fair in a neighboring town a couple of weeks ago that reduced business pretty low and then the week after that was the town's local 4-H fair that took some business away. This coming weeking the town will be having it's annual festival. We've decided to cut back on one of the showings on the weekends so on Fridays we only show 1 showing of each movie instead of 2, and on Saturday and Sundays we are only showing 2 showings of each movies instead of 3.
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Re: county fair 09 Aug 2005 23:54 #10715

  • Rialto
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Actually, the fair usually hurts business, but not this year...March on Mighty Penguins...look out for that Murderball dropping down on you from Heights because you know you Must Love Dogs.
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Re: county fair 10 Aug 2005 00:42 #10716

  • BurneyFalls
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Was that the Vanity Fair?
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Re: county fair 11 Aug 2005 09:43 #10717

  • muviebuf
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One of the trends that I have discovered over the past several years, particuarly as a second run theatre, is the need for "counter-programming" with regard to major events.

For example my theatre is located near a large concert venue holding 30,000 people. Whenever there is a major concert, my business suffers. It doesn't matter that I am running the Muppets and the concert was Ozzy Osborne - if you take 30,000 people out of the mix in my area then my business suffers. And if the movie be one that the would attract the concert audience my business drops that night by 50%.

WHY IS THAT YOU ASK?

Well first of all I am in an area with lots of diverse entertainement choices. But for the most part it is the evolution of what I call the "default" factor.

As movie-going continues to slip from habit to an occassional thing , (I like to say that movie going, for most people other than the opening day got-to-see-it-now crowd, has become a "default" meaning this portion of the audience says to itself if I miss movie the video will be out soon so there is no rush) and therefore whateverelse is going on becomes the first entertainment choice and moviegoing has become the default only if there is nothing else.

For years the first runs have seemed immune from this counter-programming need, but now even the first runs must learn this art.

The current business deterioration is aptly demonstrating that people are no longer going to pay $8.00 a ticket for most of the tripe that Hollywood is putting out - especially knowing that it will be out in video in 90 days or less. I think the only people still calling this a "slump" (which by definition is something you can or will come out of) are the film distribution executives unwilling to admit their own video divisions are costing them their jobs.
(MGM is gone; Dreamworks soon will be part of Universal; Miramax is soon going; New Line too will probably be folded into Warners)

For my theatre I now spend most of my time now "booking around or counter booking" sad as it seems. Take this week for example. On Fri and Sat I had a street carnival in town and major concert events on Monday and Tuesday. Not wanting to waste a real good picture with this much competition I booked "Herbie Fully Loaded". Not surprisingly the only day I did any business was Sunday when there was no other competition.

If the first run independents on this board have any chance of survivial the way things are going, you all had better wake up and learn the art of counter-programming. You can't go with a picture (what I call "straight-up-the-middle") against an event that will take away a good part of your prime audience. Those days are gone!
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Re: county fair 11 Aug 2005 11:56 #10718

  • Mike
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Depending on your town .....it's not worth fighting the river. We had a fair that EVERYONE went to and thought counter programing micht win out. But we have now decided to close on the peak night of July 4th and let the staff who'd rather have been at the fair anyway go too.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: county fair 13 Aug 2005 16:44 #10719

  • leeler
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The flip side

THIS weekend is our local parade and fair as opposed to last weekends' county-wide fair. We showed 'Herbie Fully Loaded' and we cleaned up. We did well the night before as well as the matinee today. I have high hopes to do well the rest of the weekend too.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is one crazy business. I feel like after twenty years in this business it will still suprise the hell outta me.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: county fair 14 Aug 2005 00:56 #10720

  • rodeojack
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A good friend of mine bought his theatres from his father-in-law. As far back as anyone can remember, the theatres are closed during the town's parade day. In a way, it's like the fact that I close my place on July 4th. It's part of the business flow in my area... everyone is at the local celebrations, and it's a major family reunion day for us.

To me, this kind of programming just makes sense... especially if it can be made to appear to support community functions.
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