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Buying a movie theater (I hope) 26 Oct 2008 19:16 #30197

  • jgleason
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I have found a place for sale, it is an older (1924) theater building that has been twinned. It has been closed for a while and has been on the market for close to a year. There has been a recent price drop and I think it is worth pursuing. I'm going to take a look at it soon and see what kind of condition the building and equipment is in.

The good news is the closest competition is 40+ miles away. Population count could be better; about 10,000 in town and another 10,000 within 15 mile radius.

I'm sure to have a bunch of questions as I move forward with this opportunity. :)
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 26 Oct 2008 23:21 #30201

  • DanZee
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How did the tour go? Are you going to buy it?
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 27 Oct 2008 09:06 #30205

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I haven't toured the space yet. I hope to get that scheduled with the real estate agent this week. I'll post again when I have more information I can share.

If anyone else is out there running a 2 screen operation in a small town I'd like to hear from you.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 30 Oct 2008 15:04 #30237

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I've got my first visit to the building scheduled for tomorrow morning. Had some troubling news from the real estate agent - apparently there was some water damage due to a broken roof drain pipe. Didn't sound like a show stopper but I'll know better when I see the place tomorrow.

So, while I'm waiting for tomorrow to come can anyone give me a ballpark estimate of what I could expect this theater to gross in ticket sales? Here are some specifics...

Each theater has 110 seats. Nearest theater is a one hour drive away. I would hope to get first run pictures. Population within 10 miles of the theater is approximately 15,000. The area is not affluent, very blue collar.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 31 Oct 2008 14:36 #30245

  • Mike
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looking forward to your updates/ Mike
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 31 Oct 2008 16:53 #30247

  • jgleason
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OK, I saw the place today. :) It does need some work. Biggest issue is the roof leaking; it probably needs a new roof. :( A complete top to bottom cleanup is in order and refit of the lobby/concession area too. The seating is older but in fair condition. There are cupholders on all seats which is a plus. (hey, got to be upbeat about something!)

I've done some number-crunching and think it is worth pursuing. The current asking price is $99,000. I'd like to get it for much less than they are asking due to the roof issue. The projection equipment looks to be servicable but the audio system needs upgrading.

I realize how much I've forgotten since I last ran a projector some 20 plus years ago. I'm going to need to find a small theater that would allow me to observe and relearn booth operations. I'm located near Concord, NH so if anyone is within a couple of hour's drive from me let me know.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 01 Nov 2008 17:03 #30262

  • leeler
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This sounds like my experience. My roof was in terrible shape before I got here about five years ago (Wow, I can't believe it has been five years!).

Read about my trials and tribulations here:
http://www.bigscreenbiz.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&Itemid=27&func=view&id=9391&catid=39&limit=15&limitstart=0

Best of luck to you.
"What a crazy business"
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 02 Nov 2008 08:39 #30267

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Hi Lee, Thanks for the kind words and the link to your theatre. It's encouraging to see that you've found a way to make a single screen work in your area.

I've put a tentative $25k in for the cost of a new roof. (flat roof, minimal obstructions 50'x60') Theatre is in northern NH.

The booth equipment - Century projector heads and Xetron lamphouses. I am worried about the sound system (mono, crappy) and need to budget for a complete upgrade of the audio. Anyone want to throw out a rough estimate for this? $5k per screen?

I'm going to schedule another trip to the theatre and do a thorough inspection and inventory of all the equipment. I also need to see whether the existing roof can be patched enough to survice another Winter.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 02 Nov 2008 12:26 #30269

  • jacker5
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Hi,

What part of NH. I have been looking for a theather the last few years but they were all over priced. From Lancaster, to Meredith to Plymouth. Even a lil one all the way in the white mountains.
Go for it if it is feasible. The price sounds right maybe you can get them down to 75,000 casue of the roof problem.The communities are so willing to brace you when you take over that you will do great.
So many of these theaters are run by old people that don't want to do it anymore.
A good example of a success story in the theater in Lancaster, NH. It was a nice theater but owned by a chain. Once the new owners took over they really became a community oriented place and there doing well and above any multiplex. And the kicker is they defied all odds cause they have only one screen.
All these theaters in small towns need roofs and spit an polish but with some determination it will do well cause these people have no other form of entertainment.
Good luck!
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 02 Nov 2008 12:31 #30270

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Any Pictures yet?
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 02 Nov 2008 16:32 #30272

  • jgleason
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I remember the Rialto in Lancaster, not a bad place to see a show. If I didn't go there for a movie then it was over to Littleton at the Jax Jr. I lived in Whitefield and went to White Mountains Regional HS. I moved away when I went to college but my wife and I have been back in NH since 1983.

Its no secret what places are for sale - I'm looking at the old Princess Theatre in Berlin. Spinelli operated it for a while and it was reopened for a few months in 2007 but closed again. Now don't jump in and buy it out from under me! ;)

There are a few places for sale in NH now - Spinelli seems to be selling off what they have - Barrington 6, Lilac Mall4, Plymouth are all for sale. Only the Plymouth one includes the building, the others are leased.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 02 Nov 2008 21:04 #30273

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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 02 Nov 2008 22:33 #30274

  • jgleason
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Yup, that's the one. I'll be making a second trip to the theatre on Nov. 11th. First visit was enough to figure out that it is the one I want. Next visit is to find out everything I can so I can figure out my financing and what to offer.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 03 Nov 2008 03:54 #30276

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Spinelli is only focusing on his multiplexes. The plymouth is a great theatre but he wants to much and wont budge on the price. I had really wanted that one. When I was looking at the Lancaster a few years back I had seen the one in Berlin. At that time it was 150,000 and needed alot of work. The owner had closed and fixed it up really nice when I had saw it last. Ashame about the roof. But it had a nice basement and really nice layout with a good town to supoort it.
You cant beet the price but I beleive the owners are desperate i had recently got info on the theatre.I knew one of the realtors. I was told about the roof also. If you can get them to lower further that would be great.
No near competion and with some spit and polish and termination you have a great shot. Good luck and let me know how it goes.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 03 Nov 2008 12:17 #30277

  • Ken Layton
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Pictures look ok. A couple of coin-op video games in the lobby for a little extra money is a good idea. The San Francisco Rush game is a good earner.

Drawbacks I see:

Booth walls need paint!

Electrical gutters in booth not covered! (exposed wiring)

The Strong/Potts platter is a very old model with the oldest style variac. This platter should get TWO update kits installed: conversion to the latest style variac box and the removable control plates. If you have more money there is an optional "keeper roller" kit that should also get installed.
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