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TOPIC: Would this single screen downtown be worth it?

Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 13:22 #34572

  • Night Fury
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Vitals:

-City population ~75,000-80,000
-Competing theaters include a 8-plex(second run, 3mi away) and a 10-plex(6 mi away). The 10 screen has 7 35mm projectors and 3 3D capable Barco digital projectors.
-One screen, 415 seats.
-5600sqft

My city doesn't normally get mid/low budget films such as "The Kids are All Right", or "Get Low", and we don't have "The American", etc etc.

-Would need full reno, Was built in '51 and as far as I know, everything is original.

Space is limited and technically part of the ladies room is leased from the building next door, so I would want to convert to stadium seating, which would also fully realize benefits of a Sony 4K, which I would like to get.

Downtown is coming back in my town, and there is a streetscape project being done on the block which would also bring business I believe. Parking is plentiful, there is a parking garage right across the street with free parking.

Has only been closed for about 2 years, it just couldn't keep up as a second run when the 8-plex opened up. Not to mention it was run down, and with ancient equipment all around, you could watch a movie with better quality in your own house.

List price is $210,000

Pics attached.

Lets hear your thoughts!!! :D
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 13:24 #34573

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Attachment was too big, visit this link for pics.

www.flickr.com/photos/52387940@N03/sets/72157624705911336/
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 13:24 #34574

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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 14:59 #34575

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That theatre can be run successfully if you do not try to compete with the multiplexes for the same films. There is enough product out there that you don't have to. There is foreign, classical, inspirational and independent. But you'll have to make sure you have the audience for those. You could also run an occasional move-over. You will have to do a lot of your own promotion and advertising rather than depending on the distributor to do it. I don't know what you mean by "ancient" equipment but a 60 year old projector will run just fine if it's been maintained. You would need to have the soundhead updated and install stereo surround sound. If it's a two-projector, change-over booth keep both machines as you will need them to run the best classic prints. One day you can install a digital projector and run the classics on DVD. The price seems reasonable if it includes the business, equipment and real estate. I'd love to have a crack at running a place like this in a downtown that's coming alive again. It could be the one thing that will best help that effort.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:07 #34576

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I don't know if it is worth it, but that's a beautiful theater. If it were me, I wouldn't bother going digital, just to save money and keep monthly operating expenses low. Do you think your community would support an art theater? Do any of the other theaters in town serve food?
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:28 #34577

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Good old St. Joseph.

It would have to be a labor of love. It has many strikes against it number one being competition for both 1st-run and discount. The only option would be independent but I believe that would be tough.

I operate a theater in the same district (KC) and looking at the grosses on Rentrak, it is my opinion that that market is already well served.

I would suggest: Trying a lease to own with a very low lease payment and an option to get out after 6 mos or a year. But a big problem is getting it back up to speed.

How bad is the equipment? seats?
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:32 #34578

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Not knowing the complete details, the price doesn't seem too out of line. I wouldn't go all out with stadium seating, and digital projection. I think that would kill your bottom line. Plus, part of the enjoyment for many people of going to an older theatre is the building itself. See what it needs, new seats, carpeting, paint, newer projection and sound equipment. Then give GREAT service, and have great picture and sound quality. You'd be suprised how good the place will look with a little elbow grease. New carpeting, paint, get some good used seats, and reconfigure them to great sightlines, and plenty of legroom. I assume you would be playing discount, or art films?
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:41 #34579

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revrobor wrote:
That theatre can be run successfully if you do not try to compete with the multiplexes for the same films. There is enough product out there that you don't have to. There is foreign, classical, inspirational and independent. But you'll have to make sure you have the audience for those. You could also run an occasional move-over. You will have to do a lot of your own promotion and advertising rather than depending on the distributor to do it. I don't know what you mean by "ancient" equipment but a 60 year old projector will run just fine if it's been maintained. You would need to have the soundhead updated and install stereo surround sound. If it's a two-projector, change-over booth keep both machines as you will need them to run the best classic prints. One day you can install a digital projector and run the classics on DVD. The price seems reasonable if it includes the business, equipment and real estate. I'd love to have a crack at running a place like this in a downtown that's coming alive again. It could be the one thing that will best help that effort.

By same films do you mean literally copies of the same movies, or just first run in general? I feel like there is enough material do be a seasonal first run, and do indies, classics, and sci-fi stuff during the winter. I feel like it would do well.... What is a 'movie-over'?

I imagine the projector still works, I'm not sure if its a single stator or a switch-over. I do know the audio at the very least would need upgraded, it's optical mono.

I'm almost positive sale includes everything, but I'm not 100%. And like you said, if this was successful, it'd really help the revitalization process.
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:43 #34580

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BusyBee wrote:
I don't know if it is worth it, but that's a beautiful theater. If it were me, I wouldn't bother going digital, just to save money and keep monthly operating expenses low. Do you think your community would support an art theater? Do any of the other theaters in town serve food?

I'm not too sure an art theater would do to well per se, we do have a classical theatre as well. There is not any eat-in theaters in town but I'm not sure this place is big enough for it.
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:48 #34581

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rufusjack wrote:
Good old St. Joseph.

It would have to be a labor of love. It has many strikes against it number one being competition for both 1st-run and discount. The only option would be independent but I believe that would be tough.

I operate a theater in the same district (KC) and looking at the grosses on Rentrak, it is my opinion that that market is already well served.

I would suggest: Trying a lease to own with a very low lease payment and an option to get out after 6 mos or a year. But a big problem is getting it back up to speed.

How bad is the equipment? seats?

St. Joseph is right, sir!

Labor of love would be fine by me, I just want enough to get by, eventually a little better than I am now. I am actually an assistant manager at the 10 screen and have worked here for about 5 years.

I'm not sure that they're leasing at all, but it's something to look into.

I haven't been inside it yet but from what I've heard, the auditorium is trashed. Not to mention hideous and dated. Spring cushion seats, nasty stained carpet and curtains, etc.
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:51 #34582

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Nightfury

I sent you a email. Feel free to call me.
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 14 Sep 2010 15:56 #34583

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trackfood wrote:
Not knowing the complete details, the price doesn't seem too out of line. I wouldn't go all out with stadium seating, and digital projection. I think that would kill your bottom line. Plus, part of the enjoyment for many people of going to an older theatre is the building itself. See what it needs, new seats, carpeting, paint, newer projection and sound equipment. Then give GREAT service, and have great picture and sound quality. You'd be suprised how good the place will look with a little elbow grease. New carpeting, paint, get some good used seats, and reconfigure them to great sightlines, and plenty of legroom. I assume you would be playing discount, or art films?

I would leave the exterior as-is(Fixing everything of course) But I feel like the interior is an 'all or nothing' venture and I'm pretty sure it needs too much work to fix it up like that.

I don't know..... I've just been obsessed with this place for the last several months....

I feel like it really could compete with first run at least in the summer, and hell even if ticket prices and cnc prices are even slightly lower than the 10, I'd have people flocking. Seems like there are a lot of cheap people in this town, if I could have better equip at a slightly lower price, it'd be a no-brainer for them. Thats all I hear when I work from customers is 'HOLY HELL THESE PRICES ARE RIDICULOUS, I'M GOING TO KANSAS CITY NEXT TIME!"

And obviously in the winter I can show cool indies and stuff at much lower prices.


But what do I know!

I need to see it.............
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 15 Sep 2010 01:21 #34584

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Night Fury wrote:
revrobor wrote:
That theatre can be run successfully if you do not try to compete with the multiplexes for the same films. There is enough product out there that you don't have to. There is foreign, classical, inspirational and independent. But you'll have to make sure you have the audience for those. You could also run an occasional move-over. You will have to do a lot of your own promotion and advertising rather than depending on the distributor to do it. I don't know what you mean by "ancient" equipment but a 60 year old projector will run just fine if it's been maintained. You would need to have the soundhead updated and install stereo surround sound. If it's a two-projector, change-over booth keep both machines as you will need them to run the best classic prints. One day you can install a digital projector and run the classics on DVD. The price seems reasonable if it includes the business, equipment and real estate. I'd love to have a crack at running a place like this in a downtown that's coming alive again. It could be the one thing that will best help that effort.

By same films do you mean literally copies of the same movies, or just first run in general? I feel like there is enough material do be a seasonal first run, and do indies, classics, and sci-fi stuff during the winter. I feel like it would do well.... What is a 'movie-over'?

I imagine the projector still works, I'm not sure if its a single stator or a switch-over. I do know the audio at the very least would need upgraded, it's optical mono.

I'm almost positive sale includes everything, but I'm not 100%. And like you said, if this was successful, it'd really help the revitalization process.

I mean what is being promoted by the distributors. Those will go to the nearby multiplexes. You can have first run of the types of films I mentioned. A "Move-over" is a run after the original break date. In other words if what the multiplexes are running still has life when they are done with it you could probably get it. You can improve your chances of getting a good audience by offering them something they don't get at the 'plexes - like lower prices. I managed a single screen in NE Iowa and got general release films about six weeks after the break. But I frequently packed the house because our admission was just .99 cents. But I made a killing at the concession stand. People would wait until I got the film rather than paying the high prices at the 'plexes. That house was about one-half hour from a multiplex.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 15 Sep 2010 09:55 #34585

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Now there's an idea!!!!
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Re:Would this single screen downtown be worth it? 15 Sep 2010 20:05 #34586

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I've been thinking.... All of this has just been a pipe dream.... But maybe I really could do this. At first, just re-open it as second run and get the outside looking good again, especially the neons. Clean the inside, maybe re-upholster or find used seats? I know there is a second run in town already, but they never clean it or pick up trash, and is quite run down. This would be a clean, retro alternative, with great service, and hopefully better picture and sound with some new used equip.

Who knows. I'm waiting for a response from the realtor.
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