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Newbie With Questions 13 Mar 2010 20:50 #33546

  • StevenB
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Greetings all,

A little history: I’ve worked in the entertainment industry since I was 18, mostly TV and video production. I work in television here in Atlanta, and run my own small video production company in my off time. Recently, an old (and pretty much abandoned) theatre came up for sale down the road from me. I’ve looked at it many times while driving past it, and have talked with a couple friends about the idea of owning our own movie theatre, and I’ve mentioned that this one was for sale, and they seem interested. I haven’t called the owners of the old theatre yet, but I did drive to it today and walked around it and took pictures. From the outside, I can tell you, that it was an old Regal Cinema theatre (you can see the imprint of their logo on the front) probably built in the 80s. Right now, I’m still in the research stage, but I am becoming more and more interested in seeing about starting the theatre. I’ve been reading some of the post on this board, and it’s helped me a lot. The small city I live in, is just outside of Atlanta, and has a population of about 60,000.

Like I said about, the theatre was probably built in the 80s based on the design, so it doesn’t have stadium seating and probably no equipment in it. From looking at the emergency doors from the outside, it appears to have about 6-8 screens in it.

Based on the outside, what would probably be best: renovate it, or could it just be cheaper to knock it down, and rebuild it? (I know, since I haven’t seen the inside yet, that also will probably determine what is best.) Does 6-8 screens make sense in this economy (and community with about 60,000), or should it be best to go a little smaller?

Just from reading some most, I’m going to take a gamble at this question and answer, but: I would love to be able to show 1st run films, but will be willing to go “independent,” does anyone know if any of the film chains do franchises? I know going independent and going franchise has both pros and cons to it.

Does anyone have any recommendations for insurance, and even financing? (Which I’ll be completely honest, if we decided to do this, we will probably have to finance a portion of this project.)

Any other suggestions or comments would be appreciated by this newbie. Like I said, I’m still in the research stage, so please don’t be too harsh on me. ;-)

Thanks in advance.

(Sorry I posted this twice, the first one that I posted can be deleted...please)
Last Edit: 13 Mar 2010 20:51 by StevenB.
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Re:Newbie With Questions 13 Mar 2010 21:20 #33548

  • Mike
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1. I cannot imagine a town of 60K does not have a theatre: how big and how far away is it?
2. it is always less expensive to renovate
3. if the slope is good you can live without stadium. IMHO :)
4. there are no "franchises"
5. yes you want first run and depending on competition and "clearance" issues you may or may not be able to get films
6. 6-8 screens is probably plenty: more is better
7. without a wad of cash there will be no financing
8. why has it been empty for so long: did Regal build a new bigger down the road?
9. you are better off empty at this point
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re:Newbie With Questions 13 Mar 2010 22:02 #33551

  • StevenB
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Thanks for the reply...

To answer some of your questions:

We are about 18-20 miles for Atlanta. We have a couple stage theatres, and one independent theatre that shows old movies, and is a performing arts theater too.

Why empty for so long? That's one thing I want to find out too. Regal doesn't have any theatres in the immediate area now. You have to go about 10 miles north to get to a Regal, but also 10 miles south of the city to get to an AMC.

Thanks for the answers to the rest of my questions. Still have tons of work to do before anything becomes close to happening.
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Re:Newbie With Questions 18 Mar 2010 11:22 #33574

  • Barry Floyd
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In your research on the building, you might want to check on the actual deed to the property. If Regal owned it instead of leasing it, it may have a restrictive covenant on the deed. Carmike did that here in my hometown. We have a beautiful old single screen theatre here on the town square that's been shuttered for years, and when we first moved to town, my wife and I approached a realtor about buying it. At the time, the asking price was $119k, and included the adjacent parking lot next door. No equipment, but it had new seats, a new roof, a full stage and fly loft, and a beautiful marquee to die for. As we further pursued the indoor - we made a discovery that Carmike had placed a "restrictive covenant" on the deed that the property could not be used to show commercial motion pictures "for profit" for a period of 20 years from the date of their sale.... which is more than likely why it's sat empty for so long. The property has changed hands several times over the years, but the restrictive covenant could not be removed. The deed covenant actually expired last year, and another couple has bought the place with hopes of turning it into a community playhouse or reception hall.

It's now been several months since they bought it - but no visible work has been done on the exterior. During the month of December they lit the marquee with all of it's glorious red and green neon and incandescent chaser lights and put "MERRY CHRISTMAS" on the reader boards. It was the talk of the town.

Check the deed... In my opinion.
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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