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TOPIC: Buying a theater

Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 09:26 #17659

I do not want to over simplify this question, but I need to ask it. I am in the planning stages of looking for a theater (or a couple) to purchase. I am about a year-and-a-half away from being at a point where I can really do it, but would make something happen faster before if the right opportuninty came up.

Now to my question, I live in southern Wisconsin and there are a couple of really cool little theater chains in the area, that I would love an opportunity to see about purchasing at some point of the curren owners are interested in selling. I understand the business planning side of things, but what I am not sure how to do is open up a dialogue with the current owners so see if they have an interest in selling. Is this something I should look at doing myself, so I use some sort of broaker to approach them, or do I use some other means of putting the word out that I am looking and hope they approace me?

If anyone has any experience around this I would greatly appreciate some advice. All I have ever wanted to do was own a couple movie theaters, and I feel I am getting really close to realising that dream. Any feedback at this point would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 10:13 #17660

  • slapintheface
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Always use a broker first !It is always better to negotiate through a 3 rd party.
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 10:17 #17661

What kind of broker should I use, sorry I hope I don't sound naive. Is it a Real Estate or are there businesses that are just theater brokers?

I just want to identify the right resource and start looking at my options!

Thanks for the feedback

[This message has been edited by justinphillips (edited February 17, 2008).]
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 10:29 #17662

  • slapintheface
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A BUISNESS BROKER .THEY WILL DO ALL KINDS OF RETAIL AND OTHER BSNS.
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 10:31 #17663

  • slapintheface
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THEY WILL ALSO SEARCH OUT THEATERS FOR SALE FOR YOU AT NO COST.
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 12:02 #17664

  • revrobor
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I would recommend that one does not buy a theatre if one sees it only as a business venture. You need to have a passion for the exhibition field. If you do not and you want to continue in that direction then hire someone to manage for you that does have that passion. Small, rural theatres require more effort than multiplexes but they can succeed primarily because the small town and rural areas of this country are not being served by the corporate big boys. Good luck.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman

[This message has been edited by revrobor (edited February 17, 2008).]
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 12:07 #17665

I would agree and I in no way see it as a business venture. As I pointed out in my first e-mail is that all I have ever wanted was to own a movie theater. It is all I have thought about for the last twelve years. I don't want to do it to get rich, I want to do it so I can love going to work every day. That being said I understand the business side of things (theory). However I want to do it right and make sure I am in the right place in life that is why I am waiting a year.
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 13:02 #17666

  • slapintheface
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I looked at 14 theaters before i bought and spent $32,000 in air hotel & food in looking for my theater.(over a 5 year period)
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 15:16 #17667

  • leeler
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I fell into my rural one screener. We were out looking for something to do and stumbled across it. The realtors office was across the street and the rest is history
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 17:10 #17668

Thanks for the feedback. I like hearing the stories on how you guys found your theaters. I want to take my time but also realise that I am at the poing that I want to stop talking about doing in and start working towards is. My big thing is that I don't want to move, however there are a lot of small towns with small theaters down in southern Wisconsin.
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 17:37 #17669

  • slapintheface
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i did a search of theaters for sale in WISCONSIN and at the moment all theaters are over 1 million......
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 17:54 #17670

Where did you preform that search if I may ask?
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 19:11 #17671

  • trackfood
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If I may ask, you say "all I wanted to do for the last twelve years was own a theatre"
Have you worked in any theatres? Sometimes people get the false impression from just "going" to the movies that it is all fun and games, when in fact it is a lot of work. As stated before, you really need to have a passion to be in this industry. I worked for marcus for 15 years and always wanted my own, but it hasn't happened just yet. With the exception of small towns, they pretty much own wisconsin. Good Luck
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 19:19 #17672

Yes I worked for General Cinema for several years and really got to understand the business. I also run a whole different type of business (technology, pays the bills but I hate it) now and understand the pain it takes to run any business. I know that a theater is not all fun and games, and truly understand the up-hill battle theaters have going foward. But it has been in my blood ever since I worked at my first movie theater. My first degree was in film, and then I went back and got a BS in business and them my MBA.

As for Marcus, I do understand the foothold that large theaters have in the bigger cities of Wisconsin that is why I am trying to focus on the Southern part the state where no large companies are present. I love in Evansville which is about 25 miles south of Madison and close to several cities that have great independant theaters, those are the areas I am looking!
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Re: Buying a theater 17 Feb 2008 19:27 #17673

  • slapintheface
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do not be afraid of the big guys...i dont care how many they have or who they are..There is always away to beat them at there own game.

My #1 rule -Never charge a penny less than the big boys on something you do better!
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