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TOPIC: Cut out your sobbing :)

Cut out your sobbing :) 24 Jan 2006 11:56 #12106

  • Mike
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Friends, and I do mean friends. The time has come to grow up and realize the world has changed under our feet while we were showing movies. Eleven years ago I took over the Colonial Theatre. No internet-no TIVO-no text messaging-no kids and adults with cell phones-no video on demand-no DVD's-no digital cable-no big screen home theatres-no NET Flix and may I say it again: no Internet?-no pirated DVD's, the entire 20 years of the Honeymooner's on DVD!, etc. etc. So guess what: there's simply less time available to go to the movies. But guess what else? We're not alone. There's less time for everything: newspaper readership and ads are down, TV skeds are destroyed, etc. etc. It's a brand new world. And that world will feature less ticket sales being a reality and not a blip.
The good news is that does not portent doom,just a bit of change. So buckle up, clean your theatres, sparkle that customer service, get to work, and cut out the boo-hoo cry baby routine. We're not Ford for cripes sake! A little bit off historical highs will not kill us. See you at the movies.

Michael Hurley
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Michael Hurley
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Re: Cut out your sobbing :) 24 Jan 2006 13:14 #12107

  • sevstar
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No sobbing here were doing good the past couple of months. Video stores are sobbing right now. And for good reason. They currently have the weak product we had to contend with. Product is what drives this biz always has always will.

Now if these sky high heating bills would come down. I could really smile. But that's another topic.


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Re: Cut out your sobbing :) 24 Jan 2006 17:04 #12108

  • Orpheum
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This is a great time to own an independent theatre. The mega-plex theatre, which is owned by a giant corporation, simply cannot offer the quality and personal service we do.
We may not be in a $50 million dollar facility but most of us are in a theatre which has more personality and character. I would urge each of you to look around at what other operators are doing and be innovative.

The mega-plex is truly product driven. Nobody wants to go there and pay their prices unless the movie is a known quantity. The goal at my theatre has always been to not depend solely on Hollywood for my success. If I do my job right, and If I offer a value, it's not as big a deal when we show a klunker. My attendance was up 9% in 2005.

"We sell tickets to theaters, not movies"--Marcus Loew
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Re: Cut out your sobbing :) 27 Jan 2006 22:35 #12109

  • jacker5
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Very well said!
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Re: Cut out your sobbing :) 29 Jan 2006 17:33 #12110

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Mr Loew was right at the time. People lived in cruddy little shacks. But today I would argue the opposite: people go to the movie and not the theatre. If there are no good movies: where are the peoples? Not present. We do need good movies that people want to see.

Michael Hurley
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Re: Cut out your sobbing :) 29 Jan 2006 22:51 #12111

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But, since films are often widely distributed among competing theaters, then the product is essentially a commodity. Then it becomes a matter of demonstrating that there is a difference between you and your competition. In other words, you want people to know why they should see the movie at your theater rather than the one down the road. In that sense, Mr. Loew's statement still applies, and I suspect that is what Orpheum was getting at when he used the quote.

It's true that you need good product to get people in the door, but you also have to make sure it's your door and not the competition's. Even theater's like the Temple in Houlton have competition. They may be far down the road, or they may be in every customer's living room.

I guess this is nothing new, but maybe it's a little different perspective on what the Loew quote could be interepreted to mean.
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Re: Cut out your sobbing :) 29 Jan 2006 23:34 #12112

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Thanks Lionheart, I did mean that and much more.
I have been in the business for 35 years. A few years back I got out temporarily and boy did I learn something. I started looking at theatres as a consumer rather than a know-it-all owner.
I learned that the ticket prices were too high for a typical family. I learned how to successfully sneak in food and drink. I learned that too little attention is paid to the auditoriums after showtime. I learned that even though I was a regular customer, nobody took time to acknowledge that in any way. I learned that it was not worth my $28.00 to see Ishtar under these conditions.

It made me hungry to get back in exhibition with a strong game plan. I put together a volume based model with extreme service. It worked. My little twin comfortably pays the bills and even allows me a few luxuries such as Showest. I earn my customer base one at a time with kindness and service. This is all possible for two reasons. Virtually every customer of mine has stories of getting screwed at the megaplex. I am also lucky that my nearby competition is inept.
Last week it was announced that our theatre will be awarded "Business of the Year" by the Chamber of Commerce.
Please do not read my words as bragging. I simply want to encourage other theatre owners to re-focus and think outside the box. Find your competitions weakness and exploit it.
One of my rivals plays commercials. Three weeks ago I started an ad campaign in his town making sure his customers knew we will never play commercials at our theatre. I also exploit his much higher admission price by simply advertising my price.
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