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TOPIC: Rentrak Totals

Rentrak Totals 12 May 2008 08:19 #18569

  • Tom Watkins
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Just wondering about viewing Drive-In totals on Rentrak. It shows both movies with the same amount for each on the same screen. Say each title shows $1000 for each....does that mean it actually was $2000 total gross for both or just $1000? total gross.

I've got a drive-in less than a mile from me and they are playing day and date on Narnia, Indy, IronMan and Speed....I'm sure when Indy comes out Iron Man will then be the 2nd film on the ticket. So while I'm still paying 59% the DI will not (from my search of the archives)

I think what also gets me is that they are not even open 7 days a week right now. They are only open on weekends and they are getting first-run product. Is this normal? Would I as a walk-in be able to get new product for a 3 day a week run and only hold it for 2 weeks....I don't think so but maybe some of you have different experiences.

This isn't a slam on Drive-In's just frustration that we are so close playing the same product.
Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton Maine
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Re: Rentrak Totals 12 May 2008 13:02 #18570

  • Transit Drive in
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Drive-ins are a totally different venue from indoor houses, and draw a much different crowd. I'm guessing that at this time of year, they can't even start their films until after 9 PM, when it's dark. Many indoor houses don't even run a 9 PM show.

As far a Rentrak numbers, if the screen grosses $2,000 for a double feature, both features will show the complete $2,000 gross. Why? There is no solid answer. It is just how it is done, and the studios don't seem to mind reporting the full gross because it props up the gross on their features.

Drive-ins play under a different set of rules. It is fair? Life isn't fair. Indoors and drive-ins have always been treated differently, and drive-ins have always been given a break on double features, weekends only operation, and holdover figures.

Frankly, they couldn't operate without those breaks, and the studios make out very well by allowing them. The payoff for the studio is from mid-July to mid-August, when the drive-in grosses are through the roof.

Do these favorable breaks harm indoor screens playing day-and-date against drive-ins? I doubt it very much. The studios have access to all the numbers, and if there was a drastic impact on indoor grosses, they would not continue to serve drive-ins as they do today.

If you think it's easy keeping a drive-in going, you should try it sometime. My opening weekend of IRON MAN, it rained both Friday and Saturday nights. In New York, drive-ins can't even open until mid-April, and are closed soon after Labor Day. If we get 20 good weekends a year, we are lucky. When it's good, it's very very good and the grosses are impressive.

The drive-in gross is known to supplement the indoor grosses in the summer months, when the studios really want the extra capacity and grossing potential. It does not compete with the indoor gross to any large degree. Drive-ins do not run matinees, or early evening shows.

There is a certain crowd that does not like sitting outside or in their car and prefers the indoor cinema experience. There is a certain crowd that prefers the outdoor experience. They complement eachother.

Indoor houses should not moan about drive-in deals or drive-in terms, since those drive-ins terms are a long established precedent. Besides, that 11:30 second feature of IRON MAN after INDY 4 isn't going to take a nickle away from an indoor screen that is showing it at noon, 2:30,5:00, 7:30, and 9:00.

Rick

[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited May 12, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited May 12, 2008).]
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: Rentrak Totals 12 May 2008 13:46 #18571

  • Barry Floyd
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Well stated Rick.....

I had read Tom's post earlier this morning, but wanted to think of a rational reply before i just fired something off.

I know what you mean about rain. I've been open 12 weeks this season, and it has rained 12 weekends in a row.

By the way, we too are running Iron Man, Speed Racer, Narnia, and taking Indy next weekend.

On any given weekend in the summer, with good weather and good movies, our drive-in typically draws more patrons on a Friday or Saturday night than the entire population of our town. Like Rick said, when it's good.. it's very very good, and when it's bad... it's Speed Racer.... I mean very, very bad.
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee

[This message has been edited by Barry Floyd (edited May 12, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Barry Floyd (edited May 12, 2008).]
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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Re: Rentrak Totals 12 May 2008 14:21 #18572

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Barry,

It has rained 12 weekends in a row!

Is that why your community is named Watertown?

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Re: Rentrak Totals 12 May 2008 14:29 #18573

  • dsschoenborn
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I am in the same boat Tom. More than anything they are a tourist attrachtion since they are the only drive in for over 100 miles. I end up giving someone from out of state directions there at least once a summer. You go to the drive in for the experience and you can not get that in an indoor house.

I have matinees and A/C and boy does it get hot and humid here so that is what I offer that they can not.

They have the fact that you can sit outside, bring your own food and drinks and show the kids what it was like when you were a kid. I spent many a Sat night at the drive in with a date when I was in high school. They are a safe place to ......, and yes I do not remember one movie we went to see.

And as the other posts stated I as an indoor house can still have a great weekend while the drive-in has long lines to get it too. There are many indoor theatres around here but only one drive-in for over 100 miles and only operate in season. I think it has rained here for their whole season too. So I compete with the indoor houses more than the drive-in.

It does bother me that they let 2 kids in free with each adult and Disney will get them a kids movie on the break.


[This message has been edited by dsschoenborn (edited May 12, 2008).]
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Re: Rentrak Totals 12 May 2008 15:59 #18574

  • muviebuf
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My local drive-in is currently open on Fri & Sat nights only and getting first run product on the break.

I can certainly see where indoor theatres running full time seven days a week who can't seem to get a print because the studio is "pulling back" (or whatever the excuse is for that particular release) might find this unfair.

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited May 12, 2008).]
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Re: Rentrak Totals 13 May 2008 07:12 #18575

  • Big Guy
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And let's not assume that adverse weather doesn't have an impact on indoor theaters as well. When it's raining, it's hard to get people to venture out period around here. When it's 115 degrees, nobody wants to stand outside and buy tickets around here.

"Indoor houses should not moan about drive-in deals or drive-in terms, since those drive-ins terms are a long established precedent."

Doesn't make it fair. We are all showing the same product, and aiming for the same audience. I don't believe for a second that there are "drive-in" only movie goers and "walk-in" only movie goers. Sure, there's a preference among different movie goers, but I don't think it's a deal breaker at all. If it were, there would be a lot more drive ins.

I don't mean to sound callous, and I actually appreciate drive in movies, but a 3 night a week, 2 week run doesn't make it fair to indoors having to run 7 nights a week for 4 weeks, either.

You show movies outdoors, weather is part of it. If I sprang a leak in my roof and lost a Saturday set of shows, the distributor is going to give me hell, even if it's an unavoidable event...
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Re: Rentrak Totals 13 May 2008 08:01 #18576

  • Narrow Gauge
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How many snow storms this past winter wiped out our weekend in Maine? Margins are getting tighter and with $4.00 heating oil indoor theaters have to make it the summer. All anyone asks is that we have a level playing field. Why as a year round customer should I have different terms than a drivein?
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Re: Rentrak Totals 13 May 2008 17:06 #18577

  • Transit Drive in
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What some of you seem to be forgetting is that drive-ins can't operate mid-week when the temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. Indoor theatres have something called furnaces. If you don't want to open mid-week, then don't. Most indoor theatres do quite well during the week, and most of them WANT to be open every night. As a drive-in, I do WANT to be open every night, all year round. I do not operate every night or every month, simply because it is impractical, and I would not be in business if I tried.

The studios also do not have to give me first run when I am weekends only, and in many cases they do withhold first runs in the spring and fall when the release patterns are more limited. In the cases of mega-releases like IRON MAN, SPEED RACER, and NARNIA, they wanted as many runs as they could find, so I'm assuming anyone anywhere could have booked IRON MAN for weekends only, indoor or drive-in.

For your information, I did not play LEATHERHEADS, PROM NIGHT, NIMS ISLAND, SARAH MARSHALL, BABY MAMA, and a few others, because I was not open every night in April. I will be open every night beginning with INDY 4 on May 22.

As far as drive-in terms being different from indoor terms, it is also true that indoor terms are different from indoor terms from region to region, and market to market. If you want to improve your own terms, hire a better booker, or negotiate for them yourself. Whinning about what's fair and what isn't fair is not a professional way to negotiate.

Complaining about the drive-in playing IRON MAN on weeeknds only, when you couldn't get a print of NIM'S ISLAND, is nonsense. NIM'S ISLAND did not go out to over 3,500 locations, and if the indoor screen didn't get NIM's ISLAND, I'd bet $1,000 that the weekends only drive-in didn't play NIM's ISLAND on the first run either.

If you are going to try to get people's feathers in a bunch, use apples to apples, not apples to oranges. NIM'S ISLAND was not remotely similar in its release pattern to IRON MAN, SPEED RACER, or NARNIA.

As far as the drive-in being allowed to play IRON MAN as a co-feature with SPEED RACER or INDY 4, those are individual negotations between studios and theatre bookers, that sometimes are set up weeks in advance to secure release dates. Whether or not it's fair to indoor operators is irrevelant.

The drive-in is showing the co-feature after 11 PM, after several weeks in release. The two features are booked in combinations that compiment each other, enhancing the grosses and film rentals paid to studios. It's also a long standing precedent for drive-ins to play double features. Whatever those terms are, they are negotiated and agreed upon between the drive-in operator and the studio involved.

What business is it to any theatre operator what another theatre's terms are? If a theatre operator doesn't feel something is fair, they should take it up with the studios involved, and take it into account the next time they do business together.

Ultimately, it's up to each individual studio to decide their own policies and sense of fairness. If you don't agree with those determinations, then don't do business with those studios. But for pitty sake, quit whinning about it.

Rick
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: Rentrak Totals 13 May 2008 21:35 #18578

  • Big Guy
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We were all discussing this on a discussion board. Sorry you don't agree with what some of us had to say.
Complaining about the drive-in playing IRON MAN on weeeknds only, when you couldn't get a print of NIM'S ISLAND, is nonsense. NIM'S ISLAND did not go out to over 3,500 locations

I couldn't help myself, and had to check. Nim's Island opened at just over 3500 theaters: http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=nimsisland.htm

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Re: Rentrak Totals 13 May 2008 23:23 #18579

  • rufusjack
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Rick,

You stirred up one of my biggest dislikes about this industry "Whether or not I am paying what I should be."

Most of my business experience is in the video and tanning businesses. I basically know what everyone pays in those businesses mostly because we all have shared what we have paid over the years.

Unfortunately not so here. Occasionally someone mentions some terms (how long to play, occasionally payment terms) but all in all not much is shared. Are we scared to share how long we are told to play movies and at what cost?

How on earth can I tell any studio that they are being unreasonable by making me play a movie for 3 weeks when another theater was told only 2 weeks? They have the power.

In the video business, Weinstein can say only Blockbuster can rent their movies but I can go out buy it at Wal-Mart (usually cheaper than from distribution) and rent it. If XYZ studio says I can't play "Harry Spider Iron Bella Almighty Golden Enchanted Racer" I can't.

Before I started to book for myself, I asked on this forum whether or not a booker may be able to negotiate better terms but to little response. I even asked if anyone uses a booker to just negotiate terms and no one said yes.

So to sum my frustration: I am unable to push for better terms with any studio as I have no idea what everyone is getting.
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Re: Rentrak Totals 13 May 2008 23:59 #18580

  • slapintheface
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I dont think the terms are different from theater to theater as one thinks....
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Re: Rentrak Totals 14 May 2008 00:26 #18581

  • Transit Drive in
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Big Guy:
<B>We were all discussing this on a discussion board. Sorry you don't agree with what some of us had to say.

I couldn't help myself, and had to check. Nim's Island opened at just over 3500 theaters: http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=nimsisland.htm

</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I stand corrected, I had thought that this was release was closer to 2,500 locations. Regardless, IRON MAN went out to over 4,100 locations, and was given a 17% wider release than NIM'S ISLAND. IRON MAN was broadly offerred to weekend only locations, and NIM'S ISLAND was apparently not.

The point I was attempting to make was that almost anyone who wanted to play IRON MAN was offered a print, outside of clearences situations, while NIM'S ISLAND was not as widely distributed to the smaller towns and theatres which operate on weekends only.

Rick
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: Rentrak Totals 14 May 2008 01:09 #18582

  • Transit Drive in
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rufusjack:
Before I started to book for myself, I asked on this forum whether or not a booker may be able to negotiate better terms but to little response. I even asked if anyone uses a booker to just negotiate terms and no one said yes.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is a tough question to answer when the answer depends on so many unknown variables, such as your business background, negotiating skill, temperment, and booking leverage.

In my own experience, I have felt most comfortable by using a qualified film booker to handle film negotiations, under the assumption that a booker will have more leverage by booking for more screens than I could possibly have on my own. The same philosophy applies from Wal-Mart to Dairy Queen.

If you gross more, you have more leverage to get a better deal, sometimes, or you might not.

If you have more locations or screens, you have more leverage to get a better deal, sometimes, or you might not.

If you use a well qualified booker to negotiate terms for you, the booker is likely to have more leverage to get you a better deal with the studios than you have on your own, sometimes, or he might not.

Each theatre location is considered differently, and treated differently. The marketplace is competative, and theatres have options on what to play and what not to play.

Studios have options on what they feel is a fair deal, which theatres they choose to do business with, and at what terms.

In between those lines, both parties come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Sometimes one side gets the better deal, and sometimes the other side has the advantage.

Not everyone is going to get the same deal across the board, obviously, because every situation is unique, and every negotiation is subject to a degree of push and shove.

Sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're the windsheild. Unless you have only one location with just one screen in a remote town, which automatically delegates you to permanant bug status.

Studios do what is in their best interests to maximize their returns, and theatre bookers do what is in their best interests to keep their terms reasonable.

This being a market society, some theatres will have better terms or agreements than others. Does that make it fair? I don't think "fair" really applies to any competative form of business. You fight for what you want, and take the best deal you can get. Or you walk away and fight another day.

In the end, you try to the treat people with which you do business with respect, in the hope that those people will give that respect back to you. If they don't, then you should take your business to someone else who will.

Rick

[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited May 14, 2008).]
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: Rentrak Totals 15 May 2008 21:25 #18583

  • leeler
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I think somebody just called me a "bug"!!!

Oh, well, I've been called worse.


[This message has been edited by leeler (edited May 15, 2008).]
"What a crazy business"
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