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TOPIC: 1st or 2nd, YOU decide!

1st or 2nd, YOU decide! 11 Jan 2001 04:12 #1138

  • Bird
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I may be taking over a 2 screen theatre, and have been wrestling with the choice of making it into a Second run theatre, or keeping it first run. I was hoping for some input, but first want to give some background info.

It was a second run theatre until about 1993, when our owners made it first run. It did VERY well from 89-93 as second run, as the attendance was much higher than it it now.
A 20 screen Regal Giant just opened last May, (about 20 minutes away) and obviosly greatly affected our business. We have been busier as of late mostly due to two other theatre closures close to the new Regal.

I was thinking of turning it into second run, for the following reasons.
1. The theatre was so much more crowded when it was second run than first run. I was hoping to recapture those "glory days."
2. I figured it would be slightly less competition with the 20 plex, and booking might be easier.
3. I strongly feel their is a demand for a "resonably priced night out" in this area, as the 20 screen charges $8.50 per ticket.

HOWEVER, after reading all the negative posts about 2nd run, these are the reasons Im considering keeping at First Run.
1. We are still making a profit even though the new 20 plex opened.
2. Second run patrons may not show up in the strong numbers they did back in 89-93.
3. It may be difficult to get movies if the 20 plex is able to hold them for 8-12 weeks. (we are in different districts, but I assume if they hold an old movie, it would'nt yet be available for second run.)
4. 2 other second run theatres closed that were about 45 minutes away from us - maybe their is NO demand for second run anymore!

So, what do you think? Any comments would be appreciated!
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Re: 1st or 2nd, YOU decide! 11 Jan 2001 19:41 #1139

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I don't know where you are, but we have done quite well showing foreign, independent, or the lesser-known small distribution films.

Right now we have O Brother Where Art Thou, Quills, State and Main, You Can Count on Me, Billy Elliot and Requiem For a Dream.

In our first year of operation, we grossed 20% more than the previous operator did. He just opened a new, all stadium, THX 14-plex in the same town, so it isn't like we don't have competition.

You have to provide the customers with something different that they can't get anywhere else. That is the only way to get them to come to your theatre. I have never waited for a film to go to discount.
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Re: 1st or 2nd, YOU decide! 12 Jan 2001 03:22 #1140

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Large, I am very sure independent would not work. A theatre just closed in the town over that was showing independents, and they were always dead. The only two choices are First Run or Discount.
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Re: 1st or 2nd, YOU decide! 12 Jan 2001 10:34 #1141

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Bird:

Whatever you do, don't even consider Discount as there is no business left in that market. For no other reason possibly then the product is held back so long that you would be playing just before video. People will not wait that long.

If you decide 2nd run, I would suggest a ticket price of either All Seats $3.00 or Adults $3.00, Kids, Seniors and matinees at $2.00 or maybe even $1.50. For that small audience that is still there for the discount market have a discount night when you charge All Seats $1.50. That way you cover both markets...you get the product earlier and can charge a price that is still an incentive to most, but still have that one night with a super low price for those who just won't(or can't)pay more to see a movie. I notice that most 2nd runs in my area always have discount night on either Monday or Tuesday which are generally the slowest nights of the week. However I have thought about doing it on Thursday as that is the last day of the run which would be somewhat like a clearance at a retail store, and that way you're not putting your price back up again, unless of course you are holding the film over for another week. Exhibitors that I have spoken with have indicated that after there Monday and/or Tuesday bargain night(s)that the rest of the week is dead.

If we do indeed go into a recession (which I believe has already started), I think 2nd run may come back strong. But it won't happen until everyone is aware that the rescession is here, and for now the media and the politicians are still trying to deny it. When the layoffs become the big news and unemployement begins to swell, then people will know.

On the other hand, you say that you are still making a profit on first run. I would be hesitent to change any policy that is still making money.
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Re: 1st or 2nd, YOU decide! 20 Jan 2001 13:36 #1142

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There is a big difference between "dollar house" discout movies and picking up prints on an "available" basis. WE opened Cast Away on January 5th and the terms will be low because we were not on opening night. But if we were in close competition we would never have gotten a print until they came off the film and let it go. You can go head to head "day and date" but then you must really play hardball and fight for prints. Our theatre was run for years by only getting pictures when they'd dropped to a minimum of 40% preferably 35%. You can do this but there is not as much excitement. Compare it to opening Star Wars!

When people say there is no money in discount I disagree only when it comes to location. People go to the movies a lot now and they are willing to pay. The ones who do not go basically don't go ever. Where this really changes is when you have a large captive college crowd. I know of a 2.00 a tik theatre
1 mile from a 25,000 kid University and they kick butt. I wish I did their business. So: there are three things to remember in this biz: location, location, location.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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