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TOPIC: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas?

Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 22 Jun 2006 12:45 #12914

  • Cinemateer
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(Note: This topic is a continuation of lobby subject 'Movie memorabilia in lobby')

It appears that some theaters are in "restricted" areas where the types of films they are allowed to show are restricted, depending on local competition due to limited distribution. However, some areas are "unrestricted", meaning they can show whatever they want, depending on availability.

For newbies wanting to open a first-run theater, how can they find out if they are opening in a restricted or unrestricted area during the business plan phase? This would certainly make all the difference in whether they open a first-run or second-run theater.

Can someone please explain the logic behind restricting movies? Is there money to be made by the studios this way? Why don't they just make more copies?
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 22 Jun 2006 14:56 #12915

  • Large
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They're called Booking Zones. If you have two theatres in the same Booking Zone then they split product. Sometimes something goes one place, sometimes the other. Also in a competitive Booking Zone, theatres might bid on a film.

If you have your Booking Zone to yourself, then you may play whatever film the distributor agrees to give you. But note the sentence structure. You agree to play the film the distributor agrees to let you play. You don't demand to play something and they shouldn't insist you play something. Although they do pressure you to play things sometimes.

It's a relationship like any other. There is give and take. There is compromise and there is sometimes strife, But if you are good and they are good, you both get to make money off of the deal and then you both are very happy.

A Booking Zone is usually inside a 3-5 mile circle. But it can also be dozens of miles or more. It depends on the type of theatre, population and competition. And no, the theatre doesn't get to dictate the Booking Zone.
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 22 Jun 2006 19:20 #12916

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Thank you very much for the explanation, Large! So for someone wanting to open a theater and show first-run movies, how would they go about finding out where the Booking Zone lies, or would lie?
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 22 Jun 2006 20:18 #12917

  • leeler
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I just booked my first film with Picturehouse and they flat out asked how close I was to the next theater. I presume this is what they were interested in. I think it could be as simple as calling the studios and asking them. Note to newbies, call late in the week. Studios are awfully busy early in the week and can oftentimes get cranky.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 23 Jun 2006 09:02 #12918

  • Mike
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Distance and population matter much. Our nearest art house competitor is 50 miles away and art distribs shy from giving us the same product without some brow beating.

For people opening new or reopening an old and you are within competitive distance of theatres this is a huge issue. Some states have anti-trust laws that do not allow distribs to deny you a film.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 28 Jun 2006 11:58 #12919

  • Tom Watkins
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Does this booking zone apply equally to Drive-In's/Walk-in distance? I've got a Drive-In less than a mile from me. Since I don't do my own booking I'm not sure if I've ever been denied a film because the Drive-In had it.

Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton Maine
Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton Maine
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 28 Jun 2006 14:25 #12920

  • sevstar
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Drive-in's operate under a whole different set of rules with the distributors.
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 28 Jun 2006 14:48 #12921

  • Larry Thomas
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As of about three or four years ago, drive-ins were accorded the same priviliges as a free zone (in most instances).

Not to worry...it's a whole different audience.
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 29 Jun 2006 08:43 #12922

  • dsschoenborn
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Yes that is what we are told. A drive-in is different to the film companies. It's not to us when they play a kids film and they let kids in for free! I can see a difference between Harry Potter Summer with the drive in and Harry Potter when it opens in Nov. with no Driv-In.
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Re: Restricted VS Unrestricted areas? 05 Jul 2006 12:53 #12923

  • hdd
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Mike, do you happen to know which states have these anti-trust laws? (it's seems interesting that not all of them do...)

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mike:
<B>Distance and population matter much. Our nearest art house competitor is 50 miles away and art distribs shy from giving us the same product without some brow beating.

For people opening new or reopening an old and you are within competitive distance of theatres this is a huge issue. Some states have anti-trust laws that do not allow distribs to deny you a film.

</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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