I am a high school senior hoping to start a second-run dollar theater this summer, with the help of a few friends. Our current idea is to use a building owned by an acquaintance of mine that used to be a theater, but is currently almost always empty. It has a working projector, though apparently the audio needs some re-wiring work. I have a friend who says he would be willing to help with that, and is competent. This theater is located downtown in a small town with about 8000 residents. There is another theater, a decent size first-run cinema, that is about 5-10 minutes out of town on a highway. It does not do especially good business, though it's been in town for at least 15 years.
During the school year, there are quite a few college students; however, in the summer they are gone; unfortunately, I do not expect to be able to run this theater in the school year. My expected clientele would be largely students from the local highschool. I would be willing to dip into independent films; however, I expect that there would be a relatively low demand for them in a small town. Though I am not aware of what would be required to make a profit, I intend to try to keep tickets under $4, in order to be legitimately cheaper than the other multiplex (which charges around $7 IIRC). The other intended advantages over the other theater would be cheaper concessions and the location (downtown as opposed to 8 minutes away.)
Disadvantages would be relatively less parking.
Ideas tossed around have been showing (on a given day) two movies; an independent film that didn't make it to multiplex, and then a second-run film obtained cheaply.
I would plan to try to get a competitive edge over other places, as well, by selling concessions with wider variety and cheaper prices. I would intend to sell large packages of candy at a small markup rather than the ridiculous prices of other theaters. If there were no health restrictions, I would also sell hot dogs, nachos with a variety of toppings, et cetera. Attempts would be made to keep them competitively priced. Unless I find that it would completely screw me over, I intend to allow patrons to bring in their own refreshments. My rationale for this is that, since it is extremely easy to get away with sneaking stuff in, I might as well allow it.
The image I would attempt to produce is a friendly, casual theater where you won't have to spend as much as the DVD would cost to see a movie. I plan to advertise at many locations with posters. I expect support from the chamber of commerce, simply because they have put a lot of effort into developing the downtown.
I am looking for information about how much second-run movies would cost, as well as any general ideas you have about the feasibility of a project like this. If you don't have time for a detailed reply, I'd still appreciate links to informative websites (I googled "starting a theater", but got little useful information) Thanks for tolerating my wall of text:unsure:
I appreciate anything you do to help in advance.
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