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TOPIC: extra screen justification for bank

extra screen justification for bank 01 Aug 2006 09:19 #13091

  • Mike
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Why is an additional screen for a theatre needed, and why would it be received well and patronized enough to justify the construction costs?:

• In the movie business: the number of screens = the theatres ticket sales and concession sales grossing potential. Often competing big films will “open” on the same night and it’s a guess as to which will do business. One thing is certain: on any given night people want to go to the movies.

• The days of the movie industry generating films for single screens or twins are gone. Today the movie industry makes and releases films sufficient to fill an eight, ten, or 18 screens Cineplex. The movies are promoted and advertised to generate their greatest income in the first 4 weeks of their release.

• There are a large amount of films released each year and they tend to come out in tightly packed groups: November and December are one such group and May-June-July and August are the other. When it rains it pours.

• Theatres that have fewer screens have fewer options for attracting theatre goers.

• The people who go to the movies generally fall into two groups: 1. those who go very often as often as once a week but at least every few weeks. 2. Those who go sometimes: every now and then…. perhaps 3-5 movies per year. The rest of humanity goes almost not at all to never. The people who go often and sometimes go the movie they have not seen. If there are no new movies or movies they are not interested in then they do not go to the movie. But if there is a new movie or a movie in which they are interested in then they will go to the movies. Films are made to appeal to every age and demographic group and released on a regular schedule.

• The area has 15,000 to 30,000 people depending on if you include nearby areas. We do get people from those areas but we’ll use the lower figure to be conservative.

• Films which are opening on a given day are contracted to theatres under the agreement that if the theatre accepts the film then they have to guarantee they will show that one movie and only that movie on a given screen for a number of weeks which extends from 2 or 4 or more weeks. If you have two screens and you open two films on the same weekend you could end up with the same two movies for 2-4 weeks. We do stagger films as best we can but we are regularly caught with dips in our attendance because films are past peak but we are required to hold them on screen. I.E. Superman Returns: highly touted and anticipated by everyone except ticket purchasers. Theatres were stuck holding Superman long after interest had passed.

• Films are no longer created for a wide audience as they were as late as 1980’s. They are created and directed at narrow interest groups such as kids, teens, young adults, romantic comedies, action, etc. etc. People no longer go to the movies. They go to the movie. Theatres must offer a consistent variety of films.

• The combination of many movies coming out all at once, a very narrow and defined style of film directed at specific target audiences, a limited number of screens, and the guarantee that a film will remain “on screen” for an extended period of time collides directly with the movie going habits of the customers who buy tickets. On any given weekend, with a limited supply of films, they have probably already seen the film in the theatre and are impatiently waiting for new films. They want to go and they want to go now. If a theatre does not have a film which people want to see, a significant portion of interested patrons will travel elsewhere to another theatre to see the film. Or they will not go at all and grow out of the habit of attending.

• Complicating all this is the “lined up to jump” aspect. There are so many films in queue at any time that if a theatre does not open a popular film that would have done business when it is first released it will not do anywhere near as well as if it had been opened on the National Release date. In part this is because the oxygen is being taken up by the “next big thing” and all of the promotional efforts are being unleashed for another film rather than the film from last month. Ads, photo shoots, tv appearances by stars, TV re-run of prequels and similar films featuring the same stars, magazines, discussions, reviews, etc. all peak upon release dates and while they promote very well they also distract from an older film even if only 4 weeks old.

• Additionally: it does not require increased staff to operate an extra screen. Staff, advertising, promotion, and many fixed costs become more efficient with extra screens.

• To summarize: more screens means more options in film for willing and waiting theatre goers and more theatre goers going to more films means more tickets sold and more concession items purchased.

Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley
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Re: extra screen justification for bank 02 Aug 2006 08:41 #13092

  • jacker5
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Very good point and very insightful. I agree 100% on your views. There is nothing to say different, except It was a great well written piece.
The only problem with people who have single or twins usually don't have either the funds or space to add screens or else they would have when the business was doing well.
What I see though is many single and twin owners double bill. So a twin can have as much as 6 movies a week by running on Saturday matinees of older kids movies and at night there features. Having the kids teen feature on the 7 showing and the more adult movies at 9.
Just an insight and also the movie theater that I am friends with the owner does that and also books the movies in such away that he's gets new releases but always has just a 2 week commitment on the big movies but always has a new movie on at least one screen every week with careful planning.
Lesser performing movies only have a 1 week screening.
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