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TOPIC: Is 2nd run cinema dying?

Is 2nd run cinema dying? 01 Jun 2006 14:38 #12746

  • trackfood
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So, In the project I am working on now, we are looking to re-open a 2nd run theatre a twin. The rent is reasonable, and we can economically do a nice job remodeling it. It is located close to a college, and there is not a tremendous amount of competition. I've worked in this business for a chain for over 15 years, so I have lots of experience. There is good parking, etc etc etc. I'm now wondering the downfall of 2nd run. Is 2nd run dying? Your thoughts...
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 01 Jun 2006 14:50 #12747

  • Larry Thomas
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So my question to you is...does your town have enough class and population to do art? That would be a better solution.

LT
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 01 Jun 2006 22:28 #12748

  • RoxyVaudeville
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NO, 2nd run is not dying, unless you kill it.

There is a perception with many that 2nd run means 2nd class. This does not have to be the case. Infact, for 2nd run to prosper, it must be First Class. You must give an overall professional theatrical experience that is different and BETTER then the first runs in your area.

Smaller, outdated multiplexes do not make good 2nd run theatres. They are inferior to most of the newer megaplexes in that they have no character, usually poorly designed and have been deliberately left in a poor state of repair by the chains that no longer want them. The amount of money that is needed to be invested in those theatres to make them worthy is far in excess of the return that they would generate, if any. And they are too large... screen wise. In 2nd run, less is better. While in first run it's always better to have more screens, in 2nd run it's far better to have less... three at most. The best 2nd run theatres are actually single screen theatres.

There are many times throughout the year when I have a difficult time finding one playable picture for single screen subrun theatres. Just think of all the product that opens in first runs and does poorly. Those films will do NOTHING subrun.

You are much better off taking an old single screen that has architectual charm with such amenities as an oldtime marquee, stage curtains, and original light fixtures. Put the staff in oldtime period uniforms, the manager in a tux and run the theatre as it would have been run back when it was new. Do some research to find out just how they were run back then. The Theatre Historical Society of America is a good place to check out. Their website is historictheatres.org.

It will not work to just book 2nd run movies, and have lower prices to make people wait to come to your theatre. You must make your venue a special theatrical experience. Something so different and special that they can't get it elsewhere.

If you offer a FIRST CLASS experience at 2nd RUN prices, they will come.
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 02 Jun 2006 11:58 #12749

  • jimor
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Roxy summed it up so very well. You would be wise to listen to his years of experience as owner of one of the best old single screens in the nation still showing subrun. Ask him for an invitation to visit his little "Cathedral of the Motion Picture" in Pennsylvania. It would be worth the trip to see a First Class operation!
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 02 Jun 2006 13:34 #12750

  • leeler
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Roxy, do you collide with the video window at all? That would be the biggest concern I would have.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 02 Jun 2006 22:02 #12751

Roxy,

Winnipeg has three reputations:
1. One of the arts capitals of North America (More movies than ever before are being shot here, such as Shall We Dance?, The Lookout, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and a couple others that star Luke Wilson and Tia Lioni, respectively).
2. Bargain City: Winnipeg has one of Canada's lowest costs of living. Stores HAVE to run bargains to make a profit. Sales are huge (Boxing Day- December 26- fageddubudit).
3. Test Market-opolis: Many products are launched and innovate procedures for huge comapnies are trialled in Winnipeg. McDonald's, for one, launched the daily "McDeal Sandwich" here before they did it abnywhere else, and then they replaced it with the "Super Picks Value Menu" and finally rolled that menu out across Canada. We also have restaurants EVERYWHERE you look (think any big metropolis with independent restaurants instead of every-corner Starbucks).

In Winnipeg, we have 2.5 sub run houses.
-Cinema City 8 (In the North End, kind of an area with lower income families).
-Cinema City 12 (Between the two huge multiplexes in town, still even showing Brokeback Mountain. People really like to see movies for $2.50).

-The ".5" is the Towne 8, which shows a collection of move-over product from their sister theatre, an arthouse. It also features day-and-date openings, but and adult first run ticket is $5.25, the top charge there, compared to $9.00 elsewhere.

Since 1987
Since 1987
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 02 Jun 2006 23:19 #12752

  • RoxyVaudeville
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QUOTE: [Roxy, do you collide with the video window at all? That would be the biggest concern I would have.]

For the most part, no I do not. There are times though that I do run a film during the week that it is released to DVD. Since DVD releases are for the most part done on Tuesdays, I at least get the weekend out of the way first. However, when that is the case, it doesn't seem to negatively effect business on Tues, Wed & Thurs of those weeks. It still pretty much continues to follow the pattern of all the other weeks.

There are only a few cases where I am held back to only a week or two window before DVD. Warners is the number one culprit for that. What often happens is that I hold myself back to take advantage of better playing time such as a holiday.

A good example is that "Ice Age 2" was available as of two weeks ago, but I consider that time period not to have been the best time for it. It's 2nd week would have been the Memorial Day weekend, when many people go away to the shore or the mountains or just have family get togethers at home. Plus the only extra matinee that could have been garnered was on Monday Memorial Day itself. By waiting to open the picture until June 9th, the day school lets out for the summer, I can run matinees every day. I will do considerable more business with that picture at that time then had I played it earlier. I always place pictures where I think they will do better, not based on their earliest availability. The other subrun in my area dates films on the first day available, therefore I usually end up playing after that theatre. However, I always gross 2 to 3 times as much even playing later. I firmly believe that the positioning of any film is very important.
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 03 Jun 2006 19:21 #12753

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I always gross 2 to 3 times as much even playing later. I firmly believe that the positioning of any film is very important.

Wow... we sure could have used you around here... maybe a clone or two?

Everybody here played subrun as available. Now, all are gone.
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Re: Is 2nd run cinema dying? 03 Jun 2006 21:12 #12754

  • outaframe
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Gotta go with Roxy (as usual) on this one... When is just as important as what... The right picture at the right time makes all the difference... The narrowing window makes waiting to play some pictures until the right time a difficult situation: this is the real threat to subrun, and sometimes you lose a good potential picture because it's already available everywhere else...
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