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TOPIC: Was adding screens ever a mistake?

Was adding screens ever a mistake? 16 Dec 2007 12:16 #17116

  • Mike
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If you had a 3 screen and you went to 6, or you went from 1 to 3, or 5 to 9. At the same location. Was it ever a mistake?

In one case at the colonial by adding a 3rd screen we more than doubled our head count.

How about you?

In particular: was the time-money-staffing to add the screen ever proven to be a bad idea?

Michael Hurley
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 16 Dec 2007 17:44 #17117

  • sheri6363
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Thanks for the topic Mike. We are in the middle of that dilema right now.Should we go from a 3 to a 5 screen? I hope for some good feedback.
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 16 Dec 2007 19:19 #17118

  • Mike
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I always say more screens is better than less. If you can afford it it usually pays.

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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 16 Dec 2007 21:40 #17119

  • Narrow Gauge
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In one location it worked beautifully, in the other the jury is still out. I do believe you need enough screens to reach critical mass for selection and appeal. In hindsite I would never do a theater will less than five screens.
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 17 Dec 2007 05:12 #17120

  • SamCat
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My views are that it all depends upon the catchment area and the box office.

Generally you can sometimes split your audience by adding more screens. Eg if you had a 6 screen complex 1,200 seats doing 12,000 admissions per week and and you ent to 2000 seats 8 screens doing 14,000 admissions per week, I would say it is a mistake. Generally the more screens that you have once you stop screening the top 10 then your box office will drop in admissions per screen.
I feel that you need to make sure that your catchment has the legs to warrant it. And an arthouse market catchment to warrant it.
Which in my description you need to have back up population in a catchment to follow the movies through the longer weeks you will run the movie. EG you may meet the national average on weeks one and two but fall largely from the national average in weeks 3 and 4. Or you may be able to keep up with another complex in weeks one and two but fall deeply in the longer weeks. Then I would say that adding the more screens would be a mistake because your catchment doesn't have the legs to keep a movie going. There is no point to adding more screens if they are empty showing movies to no people.
You may get by putting in very small screens so you can keep the new movies in the larger cinemas, and that way increase your range to make the money from the new movies and I feel that this is more important in one-5five screen cinemas but if you still have heaps of seats available then you could lose money expanding.
Just something to be aware of anyway if you are looking at expanding.
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 17 Dec 2007 10:45 #17121

  • rodeojack
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Generally, I'd agree with the above posts. I know of one case however, where expansion might not have been a good idea.

The theatre started as a 6-plex. It was a "build to suit" leased property, starting out at something like $22k/mo, back in the early '90s. It was considered to be a gold mine, even if the rent was steep.

Then, the owners added 4 more screens to the end of the building, displacing parking for the expansion. Seat counts for the addition were 2X72 and 2X110. For the extra 354 seats the rent went up $15,000.

At $37k/mo, the place was no longer a gold mine (remember what you have to bring in to pay out that king of money). The community that supported the place with 6 screens couldn't seem to keep enough people in the seats to make up the new rent.

The theatre was sold to a chain. Rather than have the place bring the owners down, it wound up making them (and the landlord) a lot of money, and being part of a much larger group, the theatre's ups and downs doesn't have such a dramatic effect on the whole. It remains open.

So, based on that example, I'd say that there is a limit that a community will support... if not on the sheer number of screens, then on the square footage balanced by when an auditorium becomes too small to impress.
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 20 Dec 2007 09:03 #17122

  • jacker5
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You know whatever you eventually decide with regards to adding screens, the FIRST thing you have to do is increase the screen size. That old formula just doesn't work. A lens, an aperture plate, and a screen. That's it!!! Seeing I Am Legend and other block busters on a gigantic screen really makes a difference.
Seeing it on a tiny screen in a tiny 60 seater just does not cut it.
People are coming to the theatre for a big screen experience and want to be blown away. So the biggest screen and best sound is top on the list.


[This message has been edited by jacker5 (edited December 20, 2007).]
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 20 Dec 2007 20:05 #17123

  • rufusjack
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Jacker,

I agree with you 100%. What screen size would you suggest?

I would like to do rooms that have 26-28 feet wide screens with 6-8 rows totally 60-80 seats. So wider rooms vs deeper rooms.
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 21 Dec 2007 11:42 #17124

  • jacker5
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Whatever would fit on that front wall that would not be blocked by the head of the person seated in front.
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 21 Dec 2007 12:49 #17125

  • Mike
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......there's what you'd like to have and what you got! I've got a 20' wide room. That's just how wide the theatre will be.

Michael Hurley
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Re: Was adding screens ever a mistake? 31 Dec 2007 23:54 #17126

  • cat
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Whatever you do with regard to screen count, make sure you have enough parking spaces to accommodate the additional patrons! I had the frustrating experience of circling the parking lot of the local 16-plex last week only to give up in frustration and get my money back. Granted, this was at Christmastime, and many spaces were sacrificed due to the extraordinary amount of snow we've had in Maine this month, but still...

[This message has been edited by cat (edited December 31, 2007).]
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