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TOPIC: Per screen populations

Per screen populations 31 Aug 2007 11:55 #15983

  • Cinemateer
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After reading other posts recently, it sounds like the definition of "small town theater" varies widely. I've often heard the rule of thumb that a successful theater needs one screen per 10,000 residents, but apparently that's not always the case. So....

What is YOUR population and how many screens does YOUR theater have? It would be interesting to see if this 10,000/screen rule still holds water.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Per screen populations 31 Aug 2007 12:09 #15984

  • leeler
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great topic, Cinemateer!

My theater is in the county seat of a very small county (no stoplights in the whole county). The population of the town is 1,550 and there is roughly 10,000 people in a fifteen mile radius. My theater holds 140 people and is a single screen.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Per screen populations 31 Aug 2007 12:19 #15985

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Good point, Leeler. I should have clarified that your population should be within a 15-mile radius of the 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: Per screen populations 31 Aug 2007 16:47 #15986

  • RoxyVaudeville
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This is always an interesting topic. It's amazing that over the years the rule of thumb has never changed. 10,000 per screen... yup, that's what it has always been.

My situation. Single screen in a town of almost exactly 10,000. BUT, it's a suburb of a metro area. Population within 15 miles is 600,000. The total number of screens serving that population is 81 indoor and 3 drive-in. 3 (all single screens) of the 81 are subrun, the rest are all first run. I'm one of the subruns.

Another interesting question would be: How many people can you expect to draw per 10,000 population? I average between 1200 to 1500 per week, but on blockbuster pictures go as high as 2500 to 3000. Of course my patrons come from all over the metro area, so I have no idea how it applies to the 10,000 population rule. If you are in an area such as leeler is where you are the only theatre in the drawing area, you can provide better information as to the average attendence per 10,000 people.
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Re: Per screen populations 02 Sep 2007 00:29 #15987

  • BurneyFalls
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Single screen #1: Town population: 3,500--15 mile radius, maybe 7,000.

Single screen #2: Town population: 600--15 mile radius, maybe 7,000.

Some of the same people are in both 15 mile radius'. Theatres are 17 miles apart.

I could sure use those other 3,000 people at both locations.
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Re: Per screen populations 03 Sep 2007 06:42 #15988

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My town has about 16,000, radius is about double that as theres a lot of big farms. we have 3 screens
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Re: Per screen populations 04 Sep 2007 18:47 #15989

  • sheri6363
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Our town is 2500 with a pop. of 30000 within a 10 mile radius. We have 3 screens and our first spring was good,first summer was better than spring and so far fall looks to be typical [slow].We are avg. 700 tickets per week now,what advertising will help get people to know we are here? We have tried local papers [3] in the market,1 radio on-location,some flyers at local parades [worked pretty good] but I feel we are missing an important piece when I see other theatre numbers.
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Re: Per screen populations 11 Sep 2007 18:17 #15990

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we have about $140,000 people and 9 screens.

We have competition about 15 minutes drive away which also has 8 screens.

I agree that you need about 1 screen for every 10,000 people but to be profitable you also need to look at the rent, expenses.

As you could be profitable with less ratio and non profitable with more.
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Re: Per screen populations 11 Sep 2007 22:16 #15991

  • slapintheface
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I have always used the 10,ooo per screen rule over the last 20 + YEARS BUT THE MORE I THINK ABOUT IT NO LONGER CAN APPLY ..25 Years ago lets say the average screen had 500 -600 seats per auditorium today the average is about 200-250..With that thinking it would now be 2 to 3 screens per 10,000 ..Just a thought>>>>
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Re: Per screen populations 11 Sep 2007 22:44 #15992

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I think that's an excellent point, Slap. There are now more theaters in close proximity to each other than there used to be as well. It sounds like having theaters 15 minutes/miles away from each other is pretty normal.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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