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TOPIC: holdover decision

holdover decision 15 Mar 2010 16:28 #33562

  • leeler
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The following has happened more often lately. We do well with a movie (not blowing the doors off the place well, but really solid). Monday afternoon I get the call from the studio and they give me a hard time for going final on it. We are a single screen and we rarely hold over anything. In fact, I am of the opinion that we ought to be moving as many movies through here as is possible. Still, that uncomfortable call makes me wonder. It also gives me the unusual feeling of guilt for having done well :S You bookers out there get that feeling? My numbers are stronger then all of the other single screens in my area and are, in fact, better then many twins and triples oftentimes. So, I must be doing something right. Should I just blow off the guilt trip I'm getting or is there something to it?
"What a crazy business"
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Re:holdover decision 17 Mar 2010 12:44 #33568

  • SMMORRIS
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Blow off the guilt trip! The film studios are interested in their bottom line and not at all concerned with yours or mine. I agree with you 100% that the more product you move through the better. Both for you and ultimately the industry as a whole. You are lucky that they do not go out of business with you when you refuse to hold over. I think they understand but just don't care. The reps catch heat at the "meeting" when you don't hold over a decent gross when there are thousands of multiplexes holding with grosses to fill their screens that would cause you and I to close our doors for good.
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Re:holdover decision 17 Mar 2010 20:34 #33570

  • RoxyVaudeville
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leeler,

It’s often a tough decision to decide whether to hold over or not, especially when you are a single screen theatre and the only one in town.

You have to make that decision based on what is best for your theatre.
This has been an incredible year thus far. There is a lot of product and much of it has done well enough to hold for 2nd and sometimes 3rd weeks. As a single screen theatre you can only play 52 pictures a year if you change every week, and there are hundreds and hundreds of movies released every year. Many of course, not worth wasting your time with, but often some of those films are ones that a sizeable segment of your audience would like to see. Often you can run some of those films just for special matinees or late shows.

Then again, we always have certain times of the year when it’s difficult to find even one film that will do well enough to at least break even, let alone make any money. Those are the weeks that you wish you would have held something doing well, that you didn’t, so that you wouldn’t be in the position to have to play some turkey.

You’ve been in the business long enough now to have seen a pattern emerge, whereby you know pretty much just how much a certain type of picture will drop on a 2nd week. I know that at my theatre, depending on the type of movie, that business can drop between 25% to 50% the 2nd week… but most of the time between 30 to 35%. Using those figures, if the drop will still allow me to break even by holding over, I will hold. If product is really weak, and I realize that a picture will lose money the 2nd week, but lose LESS money than anything available, I’ll still hold. One exception is when I have product that will fall behind the DVD release date if not played, then, I will not hold unless I’m doing extremely well (Thank you Warner Bros. for making that happen often).

Being the only game in town, does indeed put the pressure on to move on and play more product. If you have enough product to change every week and make money on most of the weeks, in your situation, I would change. Hold only those films that you see a large demand from the public to have extra time to allow them the chance to see it, or you know that you’ll make some big bucks by holding it.

I wouldn’t worry about what the distributor wants, unless he demanded two weeks up front and you agreed to it. Tell him that if he’s willing to pay your loss the 2nd week, you’ll hold. If not, you’re moving on.
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Re:holdover decision 18 Mar 2010 02:27 #33571

  • Mike
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if it does well why not hold it over? If it isn't good then no question: push back nicely.
Michael Hurley
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Re:holdover decision 18 Mar 2010 08:20 #33573

  • leeler
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it's basically a question of holding it over versus not showing a movie down the line. Life is tough for single screeners. We get zero respect from the studios. Then, when we do well, we get the hard sell to hold it over. Like Roxy mentioned above, we basically can show 52 movies per year when Hollywood puts out many times that. As we are the only movie theater in the county we need to keep moving on. Holding over a movie takes it down to 51 movies a year. And there are too many movies I want to play. I've tried splitting movies to up that number, too, by the way.

So, it's a lot more complicated then just setting a threshold and holding it over if it meets that.
"What a crazy business"
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Re:holdover decision 18 Mar 2010 16:48 #33578

  • JWJones
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Um... moving as many films through there as you can only benefits the studio. You are getting all your audience on the first week of a films release when the booking terms are thier highest. It is in your best interest to hold over a solid film so that YOU can make a higher percentage in the second and third week!
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Re:holdover decision 18 Mar 2010 18:04 #33580

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JW,

We are talking about move-over in this instance. So it would be 35-40% in most cases.

Personally, if I was in leeler's shoes I would keep movies for 2 weeks and split the screen. Work it to where you get a new movie each week.
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Re:holdover decision 18 Mar 2010 18:07 #33581

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JWJones wrote:
Um... moving as many films through there as you can only benefits the studio. You are getting all your audience on the first week of a films release when the booking terms are thier highest. It is in your best interest to hold over a solid film so that YOU can make a higher percentage in the second and third week!


Well... it goes a little farther than that.

As mentioned elsewhere, there is pressure on the studio bookers to keep a print on-screen with as few turnovers as possible. Moving a picture from one theatre to another costs the studios money. The depots (DFS & Technicolor) don't do what they do for free. Just an overnight move to another theatre involves a charge. Warehousing a print at the depot involves a cost PLUS the fact that it's not on a screen and making anything. Even if you go get the print yourself, theres's an administrative process (read: paperwork) involved in relocating the print.

For you and me, the income from a 3rd week booking might be very small. Cumulatively, that income multiplied by 3,000 some-odd screens could be substantial change.

All that being said, I understand the challenges of having a single-screen property. The booking process can be an interesting one for any independent these days.
Last Edit: 18 Mar 2010 18:10 by rodeojack.
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Re:holdover decision 18 Mar 2010 21:28 #33583

  • leeler
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'Interesting' is an understatement. Someone ought to sell tickets to the discussions my wife and I have over booking. We are now digital which has freed us up for "prints" and, hopefully, doesn't cost the studio as much to warehouse a hard drive, so I would think the restrictions ought to loosen up for guys like me at some point.
"What a crazy business"
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Re:holdover decision 19 Mar 2010 12:55 #33586

  • rodeojack
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Agreed. Wish I knew something about how digital "warehousing" works.
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Re:holdover decision 19 Mar 2010 19:09 #33589

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Hey Leeler.

If VPf's do come the way to the move-over theater, would not that tie your hands some what? I would imagine that if a studio is going to give you a VPF, that they are going to insist on at least a 2 week run.

Anyone have any ideas on this? BWT?
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Re:holdover decision 20 Mar 2010 14:23 #33590

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I just don't know the answer to that Mike. From what I've heard the weekly VPFs will be a fraction of a standard VPF and will be available every week up to six weeks of a run. Hopefully, after Showest we will start getting some more firm answers on this and many other questions regarding Cinedigm's phase 2 deal.

One thing I do know for certain in this business is that you have to be flexible, and ready to accept lots of changes because they keep happening. They'll drive you crazy or you can make the most of them. :silly:
"What a crazy business"
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Re:holdover decision 20 Mar 2010 17:53 #33591

  • rufusjack
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What we think we know about VPF's currently? It has been widely reported that the VPF paid to the big chains is $800-850 per booking. Since most of the participating exhibitors are bigger exhibitors with 6-30+ screens, they are probably playing these movies for at least 3-4 weeks. IF a VPF is paid to move-over exhibitors, I can't imagine it being more than $200 with a min. two weeks.
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Re:holdover decision 21 Mar 2010 14:49 #33595

  • leeler
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Mike, I'm just not gonna have another disagreement over VPFs with you. One of us is right and we'll know at some point who that is...
"What a crazy business"
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Re:holdover decision 21 Mar 2010 15:37 #33598

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I believe this is important topic b/c many people are expecting these to happen b/c someone says it will. People are making important financial decisions based on what someone at CBG or Cinedigm is saying.

Personally I would wait until something is definite. Remember 2 years ago, the only help for seasonal-first runs and move-over through CBG was getting hand me down equipment (the 2k being replaced by 4k).

I would not get your hopes up.
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