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TOPIC: drive ins a viable idea

drive ins a viable idea 15 May 2013 13:33 #39985

  • Mike
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I often hear people outside of the industry say "drive ins are dead" or a variation on that but my experience in talking with ozone owners is that the death spiral for drive in theatres ended a long time ago, those left standing were good viable businesses and in fact there have been expansions, and new drive ins (Barry Floyd?) and they are doing well. From where I sit I think drive in theatres are a growth opportunity: needs the right place and the right operator with a good vision and understanding of what the public wants (gee... sounds like all businesses) but in no way are drive ins dead. Au contraire mon ami... to the contrary my friend! They are alive and kicking.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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drive ins a viable idea 18 May 2013 17:25 #39998

  • rodeojack
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Generally, I agree.

Drive-ins seem to do well when they are treated like legitimate businesses. Obviously, a lack of ambient light and creeping development helps a lot.

What's notable to me is that some smaller owners are suddenly realizing their "second-job-seasonal business) is no longer a summertime cash-cow.

Like the prospect of replacing a screen, which few owners plan for, the cost of digital upgrading is proving very difficult for some. The income levels they've gotten used to, which may not have been a full-time salary but did put some extra money in their pockets, is no longer enough.

If you go into this with a good plan, a good location and somewhat of a "partnership attitude" with your community, you can do very well with a drive-in.

Barry's operation is a very good example.
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drive ins a viable idea 18 May 2013 17:55 #39999

  • revrobor
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I agree Mike. I think a drive-in that is a family entertainment center with playground, video games, etc would be a successful, profitable addition to a community.
Bob Allen
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drive ins a viable idea 20 May 2013 15:54 #40020

  • rodeojack
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Again... if you want your drive-in to succeed as a business, and not a moral compass for your community, you need to be sensitive to what your community will support.

I realize my view on the matter is not shared by everyone, but I did not get into this business to make a personal community statement about my views, politics or religion. It's a business. Most businesses survive by providing what their customers want and will support, and so it is here.

Yes, in most cases, a family-friendly atmosphere is the way to go, especially if you're a single-screen operation. Playgrounds are a nice touch, but will require more-expensive insurance packages. Because of that, most drive-ins have taken them out. On the other hand, a few have put in carnival rides and go-karts.

If you have only one screen, it's more likely you won't be running many, if any 'R' pictures. With a multiplex, you can accommodate the families and take a more balanced approach to your booking.

Bear in mind... there just aren't enough mainstream "family" pictures to keep most drive-ins booked up for the Summer. Between "Croods" and "Epic" there were several weeks that needed to be filled. You could probably find some titles to argue the point, but I doubt they'd leave your business much in the green, if at all.
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