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TOPIC: Winter Hours

Winter Hours 23 Aug 2007 07:58 #15923

  • Tom Watkins
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Withe the New Magic Lantern opening in December, I am having some disagreements with others on hours of operation.

Some are suggesting we close Monday and possibly Tuesdays. My opinion is, even if only do 1 show a night, it's worth being reliable and open 7 days a week.

Are any of you closed on weekdays? I would think booking film, if you are not open 7 days would be frowned upon?

Tom
Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton Maine
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Re: Winter Hours 23 Aug 2007 10:02 #15924

  • rodeojack
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Can't help you on whether to take a day off or two... though I'd tend to feel as you do about being consistent. We're a drive-in, so seasonal operations aren't really a problem.

I can tell you that, unless you're such a huge grosser the studios just can't pass you up, you won't get everything on a partial-week booking... assuming, that is, that you're talking about first-run. The more limited the release, the pickier the studios become. You might get some films, you won't get others... and there won't be a reliable pattern for any of it.

So... if you're first-run and it won't kill you, being open every night will eliminate some headaches with booking... though possibly not with your payroll!
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Re: Winter Hours 23 Aug 2007 11:13 #15925

  • slapintheface
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stay open do not close......The worst thing a theater can do is close part week......
Work on doing special things on those nights... Have a chamber of commerce meeting , do something with the library ...
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Re: Winter Hours 23 Aug 2007 13:40 #15926

  • dsschoenborn
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I agree be consistant. If you make it too hard for people to know if you are open or not then they won't come at all.

We used to only have matinees on Sundays and on Saterdays if we had a good kids movie. When we took over from our parents we did matinees every Saturday and Sunday. Then in the summer we added Friday Matinees for the summer. Then after 2 years there was a big Wednesday opening to start the summer season so we did matinees everyday for the next 2 weeks becuase of the demand. After those 2 weeks we kept the everyday matinee until school started and that is what we have done ever since without even thinking about the days we used to not have matinees during the week.
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Re: Winter Hours 25 Aug 2007 14:47 #15927

  • tratcliff
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Definitely you want to be consistent, esp if you want your theatres to be a destination-type business.
By being a destination, people will say to themselves, "Let's go to the theatre tonight" instead of "Let's go see such-and-such movie".
If you are not open every day, then people will always think "Now what days are they open? I don't remember. Oh well, let's not take a chance on going down there and they not be open".
I know that it REALLY annoys me when restaurants close on Mondays and/or Tuesdays, because I can never remember what day they close, so I never go to those restaurants during the week.
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Re: Winter Hours 25 Aug 2007 15:56 #15928

  • leeler
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I totally agree tratcliff. Trouble (at least around here) is everyone is closed on Sundays and Mondays. I am one of the only buildings open downtown on Sundays. It definitely hurts business. Anybody have any success getting your neighbors to open up on "off-days"? I understand they run the stores themselves and they need days off like everybody else, but we manage to be open every day (by hiring it out on our days off) so I would think it wouldn't be too big of a deal and then you wouldn't have people wondering if you're open....
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Winter Hours 25 Aug 2007 17:39 #15929

  • rodeojack
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I once had a small theatre in a remote community of SouthWestern Oregon. This town closed up shop by 6, leaving the whole downtown core pretty much to me. I can't say that I kept anyone open later, but the crowds I generated did cause many of them to spruce up their window displays, and maybe leave the lights on a little later. Being the typical downtown theatre (read: no parking lot), my customers spread out over a fair distance.
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Re: Winter Hours 26 Aug 2007 11:06 #15930

  • BurneyFalls
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I am in the minority here. Both of my small town theatres are usually closed during the week. One is open Friday through Monday, the other just Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

When I play the big, opening day, blockbusters I will be open seven days a week usually. Sometimes the studios will allow me to just run them during my regular showdays.

I play first-run and am usually able to get movies two or three weeks off break. I book myself, so I talk to the studio reps often. They are friendly and respectful and work with me--often calling me to book their film.

The people in my towns know the theatres are not usually open during the week and all come in during the weekends--some hitting both theatres.
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Re: Winter Hours 26 Aug 2007 11:45 #15931

  • leeler
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I just ran some numbers and found that I get 32% of my business Monday through Thursday. Would they have come if I had been open weekend only? Nobody knows for sure. I just get the feeling that it helps business, but, to be honest, I don't really have anything to back that up.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Winter Hours 26 Aug 2007 14:46 #15932

  • sevstar
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For our multiplex it's 7 days always. For our small town singles we do it the same way as Burney mentions above. We found that except for the blockbusters. Our weekday shows after taking into the mix utility and staffing costs. Were either small profit producing, break even or a loss that needed to draw on weekend profits to cover.

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Re: Winter Hours 28 Aug 2007 07:15 #15933

  • Pieman
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We used to be a 7 day a week cinema..mondays were always slow..like really super slow..often 10 people for the entire night..thats spread over 3 cinemas each playing 2 films. we kept it up for over 10 years, trying all sorts of promos to get more business on those nights..nothing would work. Most restaurants etc are closed in my town on Mondays because of how slow it always is..so last year we closed on mondays except school holidays or long weekends..its worked fine..even during school holidays and long weekends though, mondays continue to be really quiet. its good to have the time to really clean the place properly i suppose!!
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Re: Winter Hours 28 Aug 2007 15:10 #15934

  • Mike
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We have 2 theatres in very different towns. One is open 7 days the other is open 5. We found that closed mon Monday and Tuesday at the one enabled us to maximize staffing and management and that our head count increased while lowering our labor and overhead. However: if there was business I'd be open no matter what. In our case it worked to close one for 2 days. We did increase our weekend shows with continuous matinees and shows from 12:30 on.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Winter Hours 29 Aug 2007 08:27 #15935

  • leeler
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This discussion has given me cause to reconsider our being open every day of the week. What we are considering is being open Friday through Monday. This would enable us to save on utilities and staffing costs. My worry is that attendance will drop 25% or more and then it wouldn't have been such a good idea. I'd hate to jerk out the weekday shows and then have to try and restaff and put them back in. Any advice?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Winter Hours 29 Aug 2007 09:52 #15936

  • Mike Spaeth
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You can't make money if you're not open...
Stay open every day of the week. Sometimes people try to cut, cut, cut. They can't see the forest through the trees. I hear a lot about this small town garbage. Run your theatre like you think a theatre should be run. Does McDonald's close on weekdays just because they're in a small town vs. a large city? Why should the customer in a smaller town be inconvenienced, and not have the option to see a film on a Tuesday? Even if you're only open for one show on a slow day, what does that really cost? An employee at $8/hour for 3 hours? How much more does it really cost you to run that show? Chances are, you're already heating/cooling your building at least minimally, there's a majority of your energy cost... It may not MAKE you money, but if you can break even on a weekday, why not be available for your customer? It's not costing you a thing, and could help build loyalty. Bustiness are open for the customer, not the owner.
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Re: Winter Hours 29 Aug 2007 10:21 #15937

  • Narrow Gauge
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And the customer is always right......yeah right. Busnessess are open for the customer but if the customers don't come the business will not be open for long. Being profitable and staying in business is job one.
In Maine the winters are long and cold. Utilities are expensive and workers comp premiums high in the Dirigo state. Oil is over $2 a gallon and we don't have access to natural gas. As such we have a significant overhead to contend with. If the numbers don't work it makes more sense to be closed than to continue to lose money. In an ideal world we all would be open seven days a week for four shows a day. The reality however is quite different.
Will some customers complain if you are closed two days a week? Yes. These are also some of the customers who want you to play art films(instead of mainstream pictures) all the time also. Its impossible to have a business that is all things to all people. Better to make sound business decisions than trying to please everyone.
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