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TOPIC: Free Family Matinee Film Series

Free Family Matinee Film Series 12 Dec 2011 17:20 #37615

  • Mike
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For the last 16 years we have run the Free Family Matinee Film Series at my two theatres. Each weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas we do two shows on Sat and Sunday for free. Costs are more than underwritten by area sponsors. This year: Smurfs-Kung Fu 2-Popper's Penguins-and Dolphin Tale. 160 seats x x 4 = 640 seats x 4 = 2560 seats. We just finished week 3. It is intense. Every show filled to the rafters and the concession stand is awesome. Do your per cap x 2500. Before the show starts they see trailers for Tin-Tin, Arthur, Muppets, Hugo. We not only make a good buck doing this we believe in it as a training tool to teach people to go to the movies. And the community loves it. We actually have people who came as children who are now bringing their children.
Michael Hurley
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 12 Dec 2011 18:16 #37616

  • leeler
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great idea Mike. Do you pre-empt your regular matinees or are they at the regular showtimes?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 12 Dec 2011 18:56 #37617

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Yes Mike, that is a very nice and wise thing to do. It certainly brings positive exposure to your theatres throughout their communities.

This is the time of the year when it's almost impossible to get paying customers through the door. But give them something free, wrapped in a holiday package, so to speak, and they'll come pouring in. They will praise you for it, and spend on concessions to the extent that even though the admission is free, your take at the concession stand will be larger than both the box office and stand would have been had you been playing a regular admission movie.

We have been doing something similar for many years. Last Thursday the Chamber sponsored Polar Express by admission with donation of a non perishable food item that is given to the local food bank. We turned people away, collected 4 pickup trucks full of food items, and the concession did Fantastic. Tomorrow we have another free show for children fighting cancer and their families and friends.

These type of shows are fantastic good will. Even if we didn't do well with concessions they would still be worthwhile for the positive word of mouth they generate.
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 12 Dec 2011 19:11 #37618

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It's good to know there are still real "showmen" out there doing what benefits the community (and yes, benefits your business as well). Merry Christmas guys.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Last Edit: 12 Dec 2011 19:13 by revrobor.
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 12 Dec 2011 20:31 #37619

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We normally have one matinee in the afternoon. All films get one matinee but it is a narrow line to walk depending on if you have 3 first run films. We usually wedge it in on the slowest or longest running film.
Michael Hurley
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 14 Dec 2011 14:58 #37625

  • leeler
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are these generally flat rental or are they 35%?

My problem is I run two matinees on weekends already so there isn't a whole lot of time for another one. I don't know how I'd shoehorn it in there but I am intrigued by the idea. Maybe a morning weekend show? Would that fly?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 14 Dec 2011 15:22 #37626

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Leeler,
Could I perhaps get your contact info and call you sometime after the busy holiday season to chat about your digital conversion and ask you some questions about your six screen? Thanks!
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 14 Dec 2011 16:25 #37627

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you bet. PM me for contact info
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 15 Dec 2011 02:01 #37631

  • rufusjack
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We have done these at 10:00 am (both free & $1 shows). We usually just pay the min. Flat fee. We have done better with movies that are not out on home video yet.

Our results have been that they pay for themselves. Our per cap is generally about 25% lower as people who are cheap are always cheap. I think you will get better gratitude from your customers in smaller markets. We operate in an 85,000 population market. It is amazing how some people come in grumpy sneaking there own stuff in and leave the place trashed and never even say thank you. It is a lot of work and turns 12 hour days into almost 15 hour days. You get many people showing up later wanting to know when the next cheap or free show is.

I do not know if we will do these next summer.
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 15 Dec 2011 13:18 #37632

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I guess my thought is to do it like Mike in these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It would probably have to be morning shows though. It is a dead zone and if we can fill the place then the advertising alone could be worth it. I would push gift certificates like crazy during the pre-shows too.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 16 Dec 2011 01:44 #37634

  • muviebuf
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Mike:

After you convert to digital projection next year will you change the name to either "Free Family Video Series" or prehaps "Free Family DVD Series"?
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 16 Dec 2011 17:11 #37636

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I would think that it would simply become: FREE FAMILY MATINEE MOVIE SERIES
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 17 Dec 2011 13:59 #37638

  • lionheart
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Actually, I have noticed that a lot of people still slip up or just forget and use the word "film" when it doesn't really apply. So, maybe the word film is just a synonym for "movie" or "motion picture" these days. I try to catch myself and change the word "film" to "movie" whenever I can, just to avoid any confusion. But I wouldn't be surprised if the common usage of the word "film" is with us long after the medium of film is rarely used.

I tend to agree with Roxy, though. Just call it a movie and leave it at that.
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 19 Dec 2011 15:53 #37639

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Renaming the film industry is a bigger job than mine: it will be interesting to see how the naming plays out. What happens to filmmaker? I guess now they'll be digitizers? Or bytesmen? Chipchoppers?

We sold out 94% seats in the free series. We do cut shows from our normal times and we do not stick it in to a time when less would come: 10:00 AM. It compresses other films into show times. Keep in mind: these are pretty bleak weeks in theatre going anyway so it counters that flow. Anyway: We get lots of poor, handicapped, disabled, etc. and so many sweet little kids it is really fun. Always nutty as people line up hours in advance and many do not get in but I do love it. And it does make money. BTW: we pick films that are still not on DVD and usually just about to go DVD.
Michael Hurley
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Re: Free Family Matinee Film Series 21 Dec 2011 16:50 #37654

  • Preacher
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I'm trying to figure out the best way to convert to digital with limited cash.
Any ideas?
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