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TOPIC: Ticket prices..

Ticket prices.. 05 Aug 2007 09:04 #15712

  • slapintheface
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One thing often said on this site that i dont agree with ,and i think would be a good talking point ,is ticket prices....

Why do indi theaters think they have to be cheaper than the big boys...If you are 1st run you should charge just as all your big boys do ....why do theaters sell them self short if the provided the service.......
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Re: Ticket prices.. 05 Aug 2007 22:18 #15713

  • rodeojack
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Offhand, my first guess would be that it's largely a matter of overhead.

You have the cost of your private infrastructure to support, including yourself and maybe your family. You get a lot done based on your personal effort. Most of us could never hire out what we bring to the table. To do so would cost us more than we're making.

The "big boys" are much more topheavy. They're probably paying much more per square foot, given the prime locations many of them operate out of. EVERYTHING they do is executed by paid help. There are the managers, district managers, maybe regional supervision and technicians. Then there are the corporate officers and their staffs, all of whom are probably making much more than you or I. Any bets on how some of them get around? Probably not coach seats on a scheduled airline.

Then, figure in a margin for how efficient a chain operates, compared to a hands-on company like yours and mine. They have to be satisfied with lower efficiency than we do, merely because of the huge cost of supervision.

Then, figure in the accountants and lawyers.

I'd bet it costs them a whole lot more to turn on the lights than it does us. In that sense, we can charge less and still make a reasonable living, given our size. One of the biggest drawbacks to exhibition at our level is that our whole lives are tied to one location... or maybe a couple more. Problems at one place has a bigger impact, but of course, on fewer people.

Naturally, this may be a huge pile of horsepucky, but I'd bet some of it's pretty close to reality.
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Re: Ticket prices.. 06 Aug 2007 07:37 #15714

  • SamCat
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We charge less because we are not in a shopping centre so have to be our own destination and compete with the 100,000 m2 shopping centres with 15 million people entering them yearly. They also have heaps of parking, transport etc.
So we try to make people forget these advantages and think about the price.

Seems to work.
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Re: Ticket prices.. 07 Aug 2007 08:06 #15715

  • leeler
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we charge less because we can. We are in a depressed area and if I chose to charge $7.75 or more I would lose business. I recently increased prices from $3.50 to $4 and thankfully, that was a small impact (I think).

I'm also a moveover theater, not necessarily 1st week of the run.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 09:53 #15716

  • Narrow Gauge
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In my two locations being less expensive than the chains is part of our business plan. We need to be less because we base our business on volume and repeat customers. This is not about selling ourselves short but rather strategically positioning our business as affordable-a word that the chains just don't get. Keeping the cost of going to movies reasonable makes good business sense.
Secondly, most of the independents live, sleep and play in their communities. I personally don't want to walk down the street and have people say "there goes the guy that charges $4.00 for a soda that I can buy for $1.25 at Wallyworld. What we here at our theater all the time is how reasonably priced everything is-and the last time I looked that resulted in a healthy bottom line for me.
Do not make the mistake of setting your pricing based on the chains and the many lies they tell the public(We don't make any money off tickets! yeah right)If you can make a healthy profit and keep your prices reasonable what's wrong with that? I beleive thats a win-win situation. For the record adults $5.00 children $3.50 first run films.
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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 11:01 #15717

  • puzzlegut
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A year and a half ago, we raised our ticket prices from $3 to $4. We're able to keep the prices low because our overhead isn't a big as the chain theaters. We also own the building and most of the films we show we only have to pay the minimum percentage. Our nearest competitors are about a 30 minute drive away and also for our area, we have one of the highest unemployment rates for the state. So if we charged the same amount as the chain theaters, we would certainly lose a lot of our business, especially since over a year ago one of the big factories closed down. But we are able to bring in enough business that we've been able to continually reinvest it back into the theater, including installing new seats last year.
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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 12:38 #15718

  • Mike
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We charge less because we can. Also: we're in a small town and we know the people who are our customers. IMHO the chains are on the edge of extortion. I bet they have their reasons but one of the resaons will be , though they won't say it, is they do it because they can. Msst chains/ plexes dominate the market. Very little real competition. So it's 9.00 for a ticket, + 4.75 for a small popcorn, and 3.99 for a small soda, and 3.99 for a M&M. And where else do you go to see Harry Potter? So: they dress everyone to look the same and it depersonalizes their business.

Why else do we keep lower prices: As Will Smith MIB1 said: to paraphrase "They make us look good."

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 15:14 #15719

  • slapintheface
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My policy is charge what the nearest theater charges 1st run....so if there 8.50 thats whaT I WOULD CHARGE .....If you dont play day and date with them thats even more of a reason to charge the same!I read a lot of the post that you cant make money at THIS .............
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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 16:26 #15720

  • Narrow Gauge
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I'm a little confused by the last post... Bottom line is charge what you want and let the patrons decide if they like your business practice. For the past 20 years charging less has been successful for me. If it works why change???
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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 17:44 #15721

  • Cinemateer
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Doesn't it really depend on how you define making a "comfortable living" or having a "healthy profit"? What is comfortable to one person may be considered poverty to another. And a "healthy" profit may be marginal to another. For those who run theaters themselves and rarely take a day off can probably afford to charge less due to having fewer or no employees, but they settle for less in their lives too. Their theaters ARE their lives and they may not want for more. But then there are others who like to travel, have Starbucks every morning, own a nice house & car, and need to charge more to live that type of life. I just wonder how much impact their lifestyle has on admission/concession prices instead of what they think the community will or won't pay.

I met a theater owner who charged an admission price of $3.00 and a large popcorn was $2.50. He also lived upstairs, worked every shift, didn't have children or friends, didn't go to church or have a hobby, drank a lot, and was lonely and depressed. Yes, he could "get away" with charging less... but it cost him a lot in his life, too.

And not all indie theaters charge less than the big boys. There are two different business plans here. One is charging low prices and having old seats, small screens, and a leaky roof, and the other is to charge as much as possible and have a state-of-the-art theater. Different areas, different demographics, different needs. But I don't think you can generalize prices as "too high" or "too low" because each area is different.

Prices have to match the offerings. I wouldn't pay $4.00 to see a movie in a second-run dump, but I also wouldn't blink at paying $10 to see a first-run movie in an early 1900's restored beauty.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 19:39 #15722

  • rufusjack
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So the large chains have been charging more year over year and fewer tickets are being sold each year. Hmmmmm.

One of the assumptions of our business plan was: People would go to the movies more often if prices were more reasonable.

8 mos into this plan, people have responded very well to our pricing which is 25% lower than our chain peers.

I believe it is very important to look at customer complaints about any business that you are in and realistically try to respond to those. People do complain about the high prices of theater tickets and concessions.

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Re: Ticket prices.. 08 Aug 2007 20:29 #15723

  • slapintheface
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Great debate...Ticket sales have been on the rise the last 2 years and the 3 years before that they declined but still were in the top 10 in movie history
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Re: Ticket prices.. 09 Aug 2007 08:29 #15724

  • dsschoenborn
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We charge less than the 3 multiplexes near us but not so less that we can't afford to do things with the business. We have a lot of loyal customers and get a lot of the business because we are less expensive and people can afford to come here more often. We are an older building. Not real glamorous so we have to over come the idea that we are old and small ( 3 screens ) so are inferior to multiplex. Once people come and have a good experience. See that they did not have to spend $40 at the concession for a family of 4 they come back and do it more often.

Besides lower prices we offer more variety at the concession and even have low priced candy in vending machines. The theory here is if a kid has change in their pocket they will spend it.
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Re: Ticket prices.. 09 Aug 2007 09:14 #15725

  • rodeojack
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People will always gripe about prices. After 21 years sitting out here, I've come to the conclusion it's just human nature.

We still hear (very infrequently) people grumble that we're not $5 carload, we don't take checks, we don't have special prices for "groups" of two or more, admission isn't free after the second show starts, etc, etc. For the rest of them, being able to say we're less expensive than the "Blah Blah" theatre is good enough, regardless what your prices are.

For a drive-in, almost any price is a good value because of the double features and unique atmosphere.
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Re: Ticket prices.. 09 Aug 2007 10:27 #15726

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I see this constant trend to associate lower prices with poor quality. I tend to equate lower pries with superior value, or at least that is what I try to provide in my business plan. Others may not do it, and that will cost them in the long run, but I believe that if you give higher quality at a lower price you will be rewarded by drawing far more patrons.

Cinamateer said: "but I also wouldn't blink at paying $10 to see a first-run movie in an early 1900's restored beauty". Wouldn't it be even better to see a film of any run at a "restored beauty" for only $3.00 or $4.00.

I'm a single screen, and 2nd run (been here 37 years), but by no means 2nd rate. I always try to maintain and operate my theatre better then the high priced first runs. For that reason I enjoy a large faithful patronage. It is not my intent to brag, but I have a large 11 room home in the best part of town, have nice, not expensive, but decent new cars and enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle. I put two kids through college and am totally debt free. It's true I don't go out a lot or travel much as the theatre is my life. It's what I enjoy. I am also very envolved in the community.

My $3.00/$2.00 ticket prices, and low concession prices, along with the theatres ambience and management style is what makes me successful. It does well enough not only to support me, but allows a substantial reinvestment in the builing every year. This past year saw new stage curtains and a repainted auditorium ceiling. This fall will see a completely new air-conditioning system. Two years ago I put in a new heating plant. As I write we are repainting the marquee.

What's wrong with giving your patrons a great bargain, if you can prosper by doing so?

They appreciate it, and reward us for it.

For those that are new here and want to see what kind of 2nd run cheap dump I run, go to:www.roxytheaternorthampton.com (lol)
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