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TOPIC: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year?

who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 26 Jun 2007 15:29 #15425

  • Mike
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We see so many newbies and so many listings for theatres for sale: I am interested in hearing from people who have either started a theatre or purchased a new theatre in the last year. How is it going?
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 26 Jun 2007 15:56 #15426

  • slapintheface
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Bought a thearter take over july 31 st !
I found it on an online bsns site....
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 26 Jun 2007 16:06 #15427

  • reelman
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Opening a new 4-screen in mid-Sept.
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 26 Jun 2007 18:48 #15428

  • sheri6363
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We renovated a large building in a semi-rural community and opened our theatre on Jan 5th.I would say right now i'm fearful of the numbers not working the way my business plan was set up. We estimated very conservativly and we still see issues.The biggest issue is our community has not been going to movies for 25 years,they appear to not understand it is just entertainment (go out enjoy yourselves)they seem to think it has to be a blockbuster or nothing. We have a good booker,we usually have 3 of the top 5 movies,but people here have to break old habits and start new ones.(like go to movies).We are looking forward to the balance of the summer but I think I'm fearful of the fall. (except going to watch my middle son play football for the UND fighting sioux) Anyway I have not lost my vision although some nights it may be cloudier than I'd planned. Thanks for asking us "newbies" to respond. Hey this is like therapy I feel better already.
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 28 Jun 2007 09:59 #15429

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Sheri- coming from a person with a background in marketing, you cannot realistically expect people to change their movie-going habits on their own. If you would like them to see more movies, the only way that is going to happen is by the way you market to them. MAKE them want to go and enjoy themselves. MAKE them understand that there are good movies that don't make over $100M. MAKE them break their old habits. Intice them. Add something new that you can advertise, even something as small as a new item on your concession menu. Offer anything that will get them into your theater (consider demographics here) so they know what you have to offer and they will WANT to come back. Your theater and offerings need to back this up, of course. But if your theater and service is not the problem, then market and advertise (they are not the same) like crazy, in ways you may not have considered. It's OK to spend more money on marketing because if done properly, it will come back to you many times over in increased attendance, especially for a new theater. Too many businesses (not just theaters) go under because they relied on other external forces to control their businesses instead of taking the responsibility themselves.

I want to see your theater succeed and would hate to see you get caught relying on Hollywood alone and what is being offered each month to run your theater for you. This is true for any theater.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 29 Jun 2007 08:08 #15430

  • Pieman
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Cinemateer can you elaborate on some nice marketing stratigies for cinemas??
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 29 Jun 2007 19:45 #15431

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There have been some really brilliant marketing ideas posted here- more than I can remember- so a search for marketing should turn up some good ideas. ShoWest (and ShowEast?) also present "Best marketing of a feature film" awards. Someone even talked the star of Superman Returns to visit the theater, sign autographs, etc. It never hurts to ask, especially if a star is from your state or town!

- A good website with movie and theater details is critical. If you don't have a website, you are missing a ton of prospects.
- Get a logo. MANY theaters don't have a logo (or have one that is not memorable) that they can use on advertising and marketing material. People need something visual with which to associate your theater. It has been shown that fictional/cartoon characters are most memorable. Think the Geico gecko, Ronald McDonald, Mickey Mouse, etc.
- A high quality, fully custom-made mascot runs about $5k (I only recommend 1-800-MASCOTS at [url=http://www.1800mascots.com),]www.1800mascots.com),[/url] but can go anywhere- sporting events, holiday events, busy intersections, parades, malls, etc. And the TV news eats mascots up- free advertising! They usually pay for themselves in a couple of years. A big film reel, bag or box of popcorn, projector, etc. would really grab your attention, especially children (who have parents that take them to movies). Splurge for the ice vests for summer performances- they can get really hot inside (from personal experience!), but it is a blast acting like a fool anonymously.
- Believe it or not, radio advertising consistently outperforms other forms of media advertising such as newspapers and TV and you get to choose timeslots that fit your budget.
- Direct mailing flyers for a "special event" with employees dressed up in costumes relating to a new movie would really pull 'em in. For example, for POTC3, serve popcorn in plastic treasure chests, hand out eye patches with each ticket, invite a local zoo to showcase their parrots in your lobby, etc. The Oriental Trading Company (www.orientaltrading.com) has some excellent bulk giveaway items for really cheap.
- Offer something new on your menu that relates to a movie. I just saw "Mud Sludge Blizzards" at Dairy Queen when Shrek 3 came out. It's just normal chocolate, fudge, and brownies, but I heard it was a huge success for DQ.
- Offer dated commemorative tickets, plastic cups/bowls, or other item for a movie. People love to collect anything with a date or your theater name on it. People will line up to be one of the first to receive something really neat. When Star Wars 20th Anniversary was released, the first 50 patrons to the first showing received special edition (and dated) Luke Skywalker figures- mint ones still sell for around $60 on eBay.
- Give people something to do with their loose change and donate a portion to a local charity. They have to remove change often due to the large amount that gets thrown into the crocodile's mouth at The Rainforest Cafe restaurants.

These are just ideas off the top of my head, but hopefully they spark some of your own... and search this forum for many more. You can always hire a marketing consultant too, which may help, but nobody knows your business better than yourself.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 05 Jul 2007 15:00 #15432

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I bought mine about 3.5 years ago. The only reason we are still around is that I have a liquor license and have the ability to host large concerts and operate as a private rental facility. Check us out at www.iokaentertainment.com

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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 06 Jul 2007 11:30 #15433

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Thanks for your insights Cinemateer. I always try to give my customers a reason to come back,we started our web-site before we opened and built a pretty good base of addresses for future news-letters,we do these weekly now.We have tried costume parties,Valentine movies,etc. they all have been very well recieved. I will try some of your ideas. Thanks....
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 08 Jul 2007 19:13 #15434

  • Basecamp
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Hi. I also appreciate the invitation to post as a newbie. We have been in business for a year and a half. We are in a small town near a ski resort. We took over the the local three screen theater after the previous owners went bankrupt and the theater was closed for one year.

My partner and I have backgrounds in restaurants and finance. Nationally, it seems like teengage boys are the most potent market segment. Our county is one of the poorest yet highly educated in the state (thanks to ski bums.) We are proud of the fact that our theater reflects our community, unlike a faceless megaplex. We have a full liquor license, for which we must thank the support of the town government and community. We try to convey an adult, not teenge boy, style.

During the tourist season, we "sell out" and play every blockbuster we can. However, during the off-season, when we only have local customers, we try to challenge our locals. We played "Year of the Dog" for the pet lovers, and "Water" for the hippie world travelers. We played the Oscars in one of the theaters, and we may implement an "Oscar Punch Pass" to encourage people to see more spcialty films next Winter.

While these films did moderately well, they really established a brand identity.If you choose films that show that you are responsive to the community, you may earn their trust when choosing specialty films.

Sheri6363, these comments are for you. I wish you luck in changing the habits of your community. Are they religious? Play a Fox Faith Film. Left Wing? Pick a Clooney/Pitt/Moore flick. Right Wing? Um, I don't know who makes Right Wing films. But you can earn the trust of your community to pick films that will entertain and educate. This is what keeps me going when I'm playing Ghost Rider
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 08 Jul 2007 23:37 #15435

  • Basecamp
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So, I only posted that last comment a few hours ago. After a few audiences of Transformers and Knocked Up, I would like to add that serving alcohol brings its own set of challenges, but is generally worth it for us.

A typical patron for us is a parent that would like a glass of wine at the kids' film. However, when you serve wine at certain types of films, people constantly get up in the middle of the film to get another cocktail. I know that this creates a disruptive atmosphere, so tonight I decided to cut the whole darn theater off early. While we usually serve concessions until the last film ends, tonight I told people, "Sorry, the bar is closed." I can be held personally liable if people get destructive after the movie.

Any input from other operators that serve alcohol?
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Re: who has bought or started a theatre in the last year? 09 Jul 2007 20:44 #15436

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I serve alcohol but only at live events. Our State (NH) does not allow the service of alcohol without food and I dont have a kitchen. YET, I still have to pay FOOD SERVICE tax on my popcorn and soda sales? I have yet to figure out how that makes any sense.

Roger
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