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TOPIC: Single screen marketing

Single screen marketing 24 Aug 2006 13:12 #13230

  • rotorjoc
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Hi, I’m new to the forums and this site. I’ve found a lot of useful information here and have been reading all of the Lobby section starting with the year 2000. (I’ve only made it to section 40 so far. We are looking at buying a single screen theater in a small town of 3500. While we understand that two screens would be better, we wouldn’t have the money to buy the theater and twin it at the same time. It is a 470 seat former Vaudeville place. This is the only movie theater within 20 miles (a long 20 miles with mostly farmland in between). I’ve been looking for answers to a few questions and haven’t seen what I’m looking for.

1.What is the best way to market a single screen theater? Can you book more than one movie at a time, say, and show one movie at seven, another at nine, or a kid’s matinee and something else?

2.Can you get first run movies with a single screen since there aren’t a lot of other options? Can you only keep them for one week instead of two? I’ve seen some of you mention that you only keep your movies for a week.

3.I’ve seen definitions for second run, first run and sub run, but what is move over?

I appreciate any information you can give me. We are totally new at this and I’m sure I will have other questions.
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Re: Single screen marketing 24 Aug 2006 16:20 #13231

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Those are all good questions, but it's too much information to type here.

As a single screen theatre owner in a small town, and a film booker for other theatres including several other single screens, I may be able to give you some insight to your questions.

Check out my website at www.roxytheaternorthampton.com and if you think that there are simalarities between what I have and what you want to accomplish, then email me for my phone number and I will be happy to set aside time to talk to you.
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Re: Single screen marketing 24 Aug 2006 18:48 #13232

  • leeler
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ditto for me
www.elkadercinema.com

"What a crazy business"
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Re: Single screen marketing 24 Aug 2006 23:57 #13233

  • Ken Layton
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If your theater used to have vaudeville, then you've got a stage. That stage can also help bring money in by having an occassional play, musical concert, community event, school graduation, private wedding, birthday party, etc.
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Re: Single screen marketing 25 Aug 2006 08:40 #13234

  • rotorjoc
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Yes, it does have a stage area. I've talked to my friend who has a theater, he said live shows can do a lot of damage to the theater. He had recommended closing off the upper area behind the stage to save heating it. I really hate to do anything that would drastically change the over all appearence of the theater. We have other issues that I am trying to sort out as well. Several of you have kindly offered to talk to me and I appreciate it. One of the problems is that the place needds Air conditioning. It has the old evaporative system that it was built with (still works!) but the water bills were getting to be huge. The theater has two newer gas forced air heaters (used to be hot water heat) they blow air right out of huge art deco vents at the front of the theater. AC guys have told me I need ductwork, my theater friend said we should just dump the air into the theater, and then control it (ceiling fans, etc). We were thinking two units on the existing heaters in the front, and one in the back for the back of the theater, lobby and upstairs apt. Sorry, again a lot of info. But these are concerns we have.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Single screen marketing 25 Aug 2006 10:43 #13235

  • jimor
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As to the AC issue: Do try to get advise or even specs from some expert who does NOT have a financial stake in the installation. If you can locate an HVAC/Refrigeration instructor at the nearest trade school, he may design a system without branch ductwork, whereas most contractors will make the most money by making the most duct work possible sinse they will bid that based on the time it will take. It is sort of like the old saying 'Don't ask the fertilizer salesman how much fertilizer to use.' Letting those who will install a system also design it, usually means such will be designed for their profit -- not yours. Best Wishes.
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: Single screen marketing 25 Aug 2006 12:54 #13236

  • BurneyFalls
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I have two single screens, neither with HVAC ductwork. I put a new heater in the first one about seven years ago and added AC a couple years later. The auditorium stays comfortable with just the two vents shooting air off the top of the small stage (my theatre seats 252 after my new seats--used to set 350). The problem for me was the lobby, restrooms, booth, and concession area. They weren't getting much heat or air. I had two more units (heat pumps) put in about two years ago. One for the booth (a window type unit) and one for the lobby and associated areas. That is the only area I actually have ductwork.

My other theatre has a 65 year old heater with just two vents on the walls by the screen. I am having it replaced now, but still not adding any ductwork, except one vent in the concession area.

I had to add a heatpump to the booth last year because the booth got so hot in the summer the new amplifiers shut off during the movie.

That theatre has two evaporative coolers to cool the auditorium. They cool well in there, but the problem with them is they have to have an air outlet. The front doors have to be left open. That isn't too bad until dusk when the mosquitos come out. Once the doors are shut the temp in the concession area skyrockets. The other problem with the swamp coolers was that if we left the booth door open it got too humid in there and the film didn't respond well to that.

I am having AC put in with the heater. We are going to try at first just to have one vent in the concession area. There is a basement under the building, but the floor in the lobby is cement. I may find out when it is done that I will have to add vents later.
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Re: Single screen marketing 26 Aug 2006 09:22 #13237

  • rotorjoc
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Thanks, I like the advice about using a local college. I've done that for years with some of my cars. We have quotes from about five different companies around us, they range from 8 grand to 17 grand. The floors in this theater are also cement with a crawl space under. The labor just to cut through that is very high.

The evaporative cooler really isn't a good choice for our area. They can work well in dry areas, but around here (Illnois) they can make it really clammy. Not to mention the water bills. Of course, this was state of the art way back when!

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Re: Single screen marketing 26 Aug 2006 17:38 #13238

  • BurneyFalls
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Gimme your guys' names. My bid is for $18,000 with no ducts.
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Re: Single screen marketing 26 Aug 2006 17:52 #13239

  • rotorjoc
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Hey Burney,

These are from small local rural guys. I'd imagine they would have to hike it up quite a bit to get to Calif.
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Re: Single screen marketing 30 Aug 2006 09:03 #13240

  • dsschoenborn
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Why would live shows damage the theatre? Put on vaudeville type shows with local talent / schools. I guess a traveling troupe could do some damage because all they care about is their show but if you co=produce the shows like I do you have control over what happens.

Also dance school rentals and other events help support you in slow times.
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Re: Single screen marketing 30 Aug 2006 15:27 #13241

  • Mike
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1. booking: you can book older films more than one on a screen but not brand new. You can play older films (6 weeks old +/-)and double them and shift about anyway you can. With permission or at least with a lack of concern (may or may not be available) by the distribs.
2. you can get first run almost anywhere depending on print quantity and how you gross. I have never heard of a 1 week deal even for a crash and burn loser. 2 weeks is common except for the biggest.

3. move over is when a film is released from a first run near by theatre and then even though it may be a 2 week old first run film it can "move over" to your theatre.

live theatre damage? If you are not there when things are happening live theatre people will treat your theatre like crap: tape-scratches-etc-etc. My experience is it seems to be a tradition for live theatre people not to care about a nice theatre.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Single screen marketing 30 Aug 2006 17:48 #13242

  • rotorjoc
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Thanks for the info. I think the concern with damage was due to the current owners having live music, basically teenage bands. We don't know if we are going to get it, but we have made an offer. Keeping our fingers crossed. It is going to need lots of work if we get it. Hoping this isn't a case of where I should be careful what I wish for. If we get it, I hope to learn a lot from you folks.

Thanks for all of the help so far!
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Re: Single screen marketing 31 Aug 2006 09:39 #13243

  • dsschoenborn
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Yes I would agree if you are not there to suppervise a lot of poeple who rent the building think it is theirs to do as they please.

We do rentals and live shows but are always there when they happen. If we can not be there then we won't take the date. I have some groups that come in several times a year and they are very respectful.

Dance schools can turn a great concesion but they will climb all over your building if you don't lay out the rules first. I have one dance school that in 5 hours produce twice their rent in concession sales. They also respect the building and love it.
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Re: Single screen marketing 31 Aug 2006 12:12 #13244

  • rotorjoc
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My wife likes the idea of dance schools. What sort of rent do you charge them?
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