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TOPIC: vpf is negative to get a film

vpf is negative to get a film 13 Feb 2012 23:29 #37842

  • Mike
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I was told today by a smaller distrib explicitly that when we are digital with a vpf agreement that it will absolutely make it harder for us to get a picture from them as they will not be able to service us because they will not be able to afford a vpf to underwrite our grossing level. In fact we were told that we may never be able to get a print from them once we go digital with a vpf. It appears while all the negotiating has been going on they have not actually required anyone to participate and give you a print in the way that always would with a 35mm print. And once you sign up for the VPF there's no way around it. You cannot offer to decline.
Michael Hurley
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 14 Feb 2012 03:22 #37845

  • rufusjack
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Mike,

Why are you surprised? Is it because CBG told you differently? It makes clear financial sense.

It will not be just the smaller studios saying that but it will be most of the majors as well.

This is why I believe for the smaller theaters like you and I, we are better off paying for it without a VPF and gives better access to movies than we have now.

Have you already signed a VPF? Any case to get out of it?
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 14 Feb 2012 14:49 #37846

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For us we could not afford to spend the +180K without a VPF to offset it so we need some variation of the VPF. The distrib said two other things:
1. keep one 35mm system up. We were going to do that.
2. they knew of theatres that were pulling a digital system and putting back in a 35 mm because they were already having trouble getting prints.

If the hidden, very well hidden, point for smaller theatres is that they will not be able to get prints because of the very fact that they have a VPF it's like a poison pill.
Michael Hurley
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 14 Feb 2012 15:55 #37849

  • leeler
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I have not experienced this at my theaters to any significant extent. A couple of times from the mini majors a year ago but nothing since. If it happened today I would rat on them to NATO and Cinedigm.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 14 Feb 2012 17:08 #37851

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Leeler,

Your 6-screen should be immune from this as you are grossing a decent amount per movie. I imagine you are in that 2600-2800 ranking or so.

Your single screen you have always said that you gross more on move-over than many do who play on the break.

It is the theaters in the 3000+ range that will have issues.

I also doubt that ratting them out to NATO & Cinedigm will have any effect. Why anyone would ever think that a studio would lose money on a VPF deal is beyond me.
Last Edit: 14 Feb 2012 17:10 by rufusjack.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 14 Feb 2012 17:10 #37852

  • slapintheface
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Anyone putting back 35 mm will not be around long. The best way for indi theater to get digital is a bank loan. $50,000 per screen is about $ 700 per month.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 14 Feb 2012 19:51 #37855

  • Adam Fraser
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I paid cash for the system in my single screen for just this reason. I have heard other people say similar things. We are first run about 50% of the time and 2-4 weeks out the rest of the year. The VPF's being offered were so pitiful anyway the choice was easy.

I will tell you that I am certainly receiving better choices in films than my neighboring theatres who are still film. I kept a 35mm system in place for a backup, but haven't used it since the switch.

Also, $50K a screen seems a bit low unless you have small screens and the least expensive equipment available. We bought the nicest equipment we could afford, without 3D and the total was well over $60K installed including HVAC and electrical. I got many, many quotes before purchasing.

We could have went with an NC1200 or smaller Barco and saved some money, but if we decide to go 3D someday a 2K bulb max would put up a pretty crappy image on screen. Decided to go with an NC2000 instead so we can go with a 3K or 4K bulb for 3D showings.

The only thing I will say is if I had to do it again, I would have purchased it from Film Tech as the major equipment dealer we purchased it from was less than stellar after we sent the first check for the $52,000 down payment. They were a few thousand more, but I have a feeling the overall cost would have been similar after all the little things were sorted out like forgetting to put Sales Tax on the original quote.
Last Edit: 14 Feb 2012 19:57 by Adam Fraser.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 15 Feb 2012 15:31 #37857

  • RickAlan
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Being an infrequent poster, I'll give a brief background. Built a 4 screen theater in 1994. Added 2 screens in 1996. Put in 2 digital 3D projectors in late 2010. I decided to commit to two because eventually, I assumed I'd be "reimbursed" through VPFs about 2/3 of my cost. So I made my 1/3 investment early to get in on the front end of the transition in my area. In May 2011, I became 100% digital with 4 3Ds.

My concern was that with VPFs, not only may I not be given film I had been given in the past, but that with a flat VPF payment, I may be expected to hold the film for a longer period of time, thereby reducing the number of films I open in a year and reducing my "reimbursement." I made a lot of contacts before committing.

The end result: no negative change whatsoever. I've opened more movies since being digital than when I was 35mm. Absolutely no change in when I "final" a film.

The logic? It costs the distributor less to produce a digital copy and pay the VPF than it did to produce a 35mm copy. That is the entire reason the distribs were willing to pay VPFs in the first place. I do understand that initially their costs were not as low as anticipated.

Reality: in a small town 6-screener, I have been offered more film than when I was 35mm.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 15 Feb 2012 15:44 #37859

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Rick,

Any idea where you rank nationally on print allocations? 6-plexes around me rank no worse than 2700-2800. Are you keeping movies for at least 3weeks on average? 3 weeks seems to be the sweet spot with most studios. If those factors are true I am not surprised that you are not having any problems.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 15 Feb 2012 16:01 #37861

  • cinema365
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Yes i agree with Rufus. It when single or two screen are trying to programe up films will they be willing to give what you want.
I am have been told that if i go VPF i need to show at least 15 new release date films a year. Which last year I did 18 films and even on those showed, we doubled up on another film in the second week like Change Up.
Still wondering what to do as 80% of our films has a intermission so we get another 20-30% takings on the bar with each film lond enough
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 15 Feb 2012 21:34 #37863

  • RickAlan
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Rufus - I'm not certain where we rank. 2700-2800 is probably close. If we hold each movie for 3 weeks, we will therefore open 2/week and 104/year. Knowing that some bigger movies will play longer than 3 weeks, I based all my projections on opening 90 movies/year. In the past we've opened anywhere from 85-95 per year. I have no doubt that we'll surpass 90 being 100% digital.

To your question, we've actually been able to come off a number of films after two weeks. I fully expected to be three weeks minimum, but so far so good.

I do understand that 1 and 2 screeners will not enjoy the same good fortune, but I wanted the 6 screeners to know what a 6 screener has experienced.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 15 Feb 2012 23:22 #37864

  • slapintheface
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$ 49,000 per screen no 3d is what one of the theaters I book just paid for install about 25 ft screens. Included everything.......
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 15 Feb 2012 23:26 #37865

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The Terrace 4 --I book is 35-45 in the nation for art houses. Really never have a problem getting on the break after(la-ny) except with Sony Classics that still does this long long roll out. I think on first fun we are about 900.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 15 Feb 2012 23:36 #37866

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Rick,

The 6 screens around here have been converting with VPF agreements. So I am not surprised to hear that you are not having many problems.
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Re: vpf is negative to get a film 16 Feb 2012 01:36 #37867

  • lewistheatre
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I had been told that a film could not be stopped to create a concession intermission. I see you writing about 89% intermissions. Have you any flack from studios?
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