I just read that the Princeton Theater in Princeton, Indiana has received a verbal approval for a four million dollar grant from the state of Indiana to renovate and reopen their old theater. It seems the city is the one that is going to contract for the renovation with a construction company.
Hmmm... This city is less than 9,000 people. Now, if I could just convince Oklahoma to give me a grant for a fraction of that, I could convert to digital, add a screen, upgrade the seating, build an apartment upstairs, etc., etc...
The Princeton is listed on Cinema Treasures as having 4 screens and 1200 seats. Assuming that is the way it will continue to be, the state is giving $1,000,000 per screen, or $3,333 per seat, or $463 per person based on the 8,644 residents counted in the 2010 census.
If the average person in Princeton buys 4 tickets per year at a moderate average of $7 per ticket, and also spends an average of $3 per person at the concession stand, it will only take 400,000 admits to gross $4,000,000. This would take 11.6 years, but since that is only to make $4,000,000 gross, I'm thinking it will take 5 or 10 times that long to net that much. This assumes a perfect world where small town residents actually patronize their theater regularly and don't run off to Evansville or someplace like that to see the movies at some other bigger theater.
I can't say whether or not it makes sense for Indiana to spend so much money on a small town theater. It's a long term investment in providing quality of life in that small town. I think small towns are an important part of our country. I just can't help wondering about all this.
And people comment to me that they think my asking price of $275K in a small town is too high. That's only $82 per person based on a 2011 population estimate of 3,340 residents. Of course that's only the in-town population. I consider the market area larger, but then again, I would have to adjust Princeton's market numbers if I did that, so I'll just leave it this way for comparison.
If my theater could expect the same average resident to visit 4 times per year and spend $10 each, the Gentry would gross $275,000 in slightly over 2 years. At 5 or 10 times that to make that much in net, it's still only 10 or 20 years.
I'm not saying you could pay off a loan for the Gentry in 10 years, but it's just a way of comparing one theater to another. I guess you could say I'm a little envious.
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