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TOPIC: Is there a conspiracy to kill small theatres?

Is there a conspiracy to kill small theatres? 10 Nov 2010 18:45 #34859

  • Mike
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This fall season was the most brutal we've had in over 15 years of theatre operations. Not that there weren't movies that people wanted to see. Red, Social Network, Secretariat, Life as We Know It, Easy A, You Again, the Town? All did not go "that wide." And because the studios have slimmed down their fall schedule they didn't get pushed out of theatres either. This left the 1000 to 1500 theatres not "in the marketing plan" sucking wind. Then; this week they lean on us to hold Secretariat, perhaps very late realizing they've left a lot of money on the table. Is it a conspiracy? No. Do they want to put us out of business? Maybe. It might as well be true because if it keeps up it will have the same effect. If this continues and they extend it into a twice a year event adding late winter-early spring to the suicide season many smaller theatres cannot survive. In our case of my two theatres we could have done enough business to justify the print. Perhaps we would not gross what even slightly larger communities would gross but we wouldn't have lost them money. We've offered to cover costs or pay a guarantee, sometimes having a loss leader keeps customers engaged and not becoming serial commuters to far away multiplexes; but no. And then they want 4 weeks for Mega Mind in a small town 2 screen. Give me a break. We are dependent on first run films that are being promoted and without prints to show there isn't enough alternative content and other odd ball stuff in the world that will make it right.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re:Is there a conspiracy to kill small theatres? 11 Nov 2010 12:02 #34861

  • rufusjack
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Mike,

I do not believe it to be a conspiracy. I believe it is because we do not amount to that much money to them. For example, Toy Story 3 played at the most theaters in the KC area (that allows numbers to be seen on Rentrak). 103 theaters played it. The top 50 amounted to 95% of the total gross. The bottom 25% amounted to 1%.

Social Network played at 61 theaters to date with 41 on the break. 3 of those that opened on the break grossed less than $3000. Move-over business to date is approx. 1% of total gross. And Sony is probably the best studio at move-over.

These numbers are typical. Maybe your area is different. Look them up for yourself and report back.

It is for this reason that I believe we will not see a CBG deal for digital equipment that includes some form of studio VPFs for these small theaters.

FWIW: movies released more than 2500 locations for the past 5 years.

October 2010 - 8 movies over 5 weeks
October 2009 - 9 movies over 5 weeks
October 2008 - 9 movies over 5 weeks
October 2007 - 5 movies over 4 weeks
October 2006 - 8 movies over 4 weeks
September 2010 - 11 movies
September 2009 - 9 movies
Septemebr 2008 - 8 movies
September 2007 - 6 movies
septemebr 2006 - 9 movies

2700+ locations
October 2010 - 7 movies over 5 weeks
October 2009 - 9 movies over 5 weeks
October 2008 - 7 movies over 5 weeks
October 2007 - 5 movies over 4 weeks
October 2006 - 5 movies over 4 weeks
September 2010 - 8 movies
September 2009 - 5 movies
Septemebr 2008 - 4 movies
September 2007 - 4 movies
septemebr 2006 - 7 movies

3000+ locations
October 2010 - 5 movies over 5 weeks
October 2009 - 6 movies over 5 weeks
October 2008 - 4 movies over 5 weeks
October 2007 - 3 movies over 4 weeks
October 2006 - 3 movies over 4 weeks
September 2010 - 4 movies
September 2009 - 2 movies
Septemebr 2008 - 2 movies
September 2007 - 1 movies
septemebr 2006 - 5 movies

Looks like 2007 was pretty bad.
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Re:Is there a conspiracy to kill small theatres? 12 Nov 2010 00:14 #34871

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rufusjack wrote:
It is for this reason that I believe we will not see a CBG deal for digital equipment that includes some form of studio VPFs for these small theaters.

FYI: There is a VPF deal for small theatres, second-run situations, and small independent theatres which do not qualify for first-run VPFs.

The deal is only available through the CBG, since the CBG was the only organization that came together to represent the small independent exhibitors.

If you are a CBG member, then you should know what this deal is. It isn't a great "blow your socks off" deal, but it's something, and something is better than nothing. Especially when you consider that this money is coming from the studios, who normally do not write checks to theatre operators.

If you are not a CBG member, you can still contact NATO to inquire about joining. There is a different deal for those theatres who did not join the CBG prior to the cutoff date, since the theatres who did not contribute to getting the deal negotiated should not be entitled to the same benefits as the theatres which were members and used their combined screen numbers to negotiate for a better deal.

Joining after the deal has already been negotiated does nothing to help the CBG members who had joined prior to the deadline, so it was determined that those theatres who joined after the deadline would still be allowed to participate, but would not receive the same deal.

Since the details of the CBG agreement are subject to a confidentiality agreeement by all of its members, there isn't much more for me to say, other than if you are not playing 90% or more first-run from each studio, and you would like to receive some amount of a VPF to help defer the cost of your equipment, you should consider joining the CBG.

BTW, joining the CGB entitled me to an extra $50 off the registration cost for CinemaCon, on top of the regular discount offered to NATO members.

Rick
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re:Is there a conspiracy to kill small theatres? 12 Nov 2010 20:10 #34879

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I stand corrected.

I have made a call and left a message with Cinedign. If it is a good deal I will be a big cheerleader for them and CBG.

FWIW, I tried to join NATO when I was doing my due diligence but they only take operating theaters. That left a bad taste in my mouth. A trade group has a great chance to make a great first impression helping people research this business.

As far as the CBG deadline. It came right when I was finishing my first year in this business. At that time I was still deliberating if I wanted to continue in this business. At that point I was just leaving a board position with the independent part of the video store trade group. Many of us had a bad taste how that ended. Since many of the players were somewhat the same, I was reluctant to join.

If they have done good work on getting VPFs for the smaller theaters, then membership will grow. Is that not a good thing? I will keep an open mind. My next exit point is Dec 31, 2011 when my current lease ends. I beleive that will be a good point to see where this industry is going.
Last Edit: 12 Nov 2010 20:13 by rufusjack.
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