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TOPIC: why can't a hard top book like a drive in?

why can't a hard top book like a drive in? 15 May 2013 13:38 #39987

  • Mike
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Why can't I open Epic on one screen at the early show and Hangover 3 on the same screen at the late show? Drive in theatres can. Why can't a regular theatre do it? I've herad the oft stated reasons but I'm not buying it.
Michael Hurley
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why can't a hard top book like a drive in? 18 May 2013 17:18 #39997

  • rodeojack
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I think the easy answer is a matter of tunover.

The customer pays for the program, regardless when he enters the theatre. The percentage is paid to both studios whether the customer watched both movies or only one.

The problem I would have with the idea today is that you can't turn customers fast enough to make any money, compared to single-feature houses. That's the problem I had with long movies. Long shows means the customer "consumes" more labor and overhead hours per-performance. With a drive-in, the number of "dark hours" doesn't give you much choice but to run a double... or maybe a single twice (bad for concessions).

The studios' resistance to split doubles is understandable (from their perspective). If you're going to sell a ticket, the studio wants the percentage. If you're using part of your day to give a percentage to someone else, then there's an income potential that's lost to the losing company.

I never experienced resistance from the studios when I booked double features at an indoor house, though it was many years ago. The studios both got paid for each performance, so they didn't lose anything. On the contrary... a winning movie will pull the percentages up for a lesser co-feature. You're the one who stands to lose out, because you're risking a 3 - 4 hour turnover on whether you picked a winning combo.
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why can't a hard top book like a drive in? 19 May 2013 22:35 #40013

  • Andrew Thomas
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I don't think Mike is talking about double bills. He is talking about booking a single screen with two movies that appeal to two different demos that people would buy tickets to each individual show.

Why can't he have say four shows on a single screen where the 1:00 and 4:00 are something like Turbo and the 7:00 and 10:00 shows are something like Hangover 3? Most distributors require exclusivity on the screen that the movie is showing on.

I have noticed the big Cinemark where I live DOES do that. They are 13 screens and have as many as 16 movies playing at a time.
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why can't a hard top book like a drive in? 20 May 2013 01:20 #40014

  • Bob Nash
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The studios know that a drive in is only going to offer one show per night per feature so they aren't losing anything by allowing their film to share the bill. The number of patrons that many drive ins can hold is also frequently greater than a hardtop. A win win.

In a hard top if a screen is shared by multiple features the number of shows may go from five or six to two or three for a new feature. Studios don't like that.

The Cinemark mentioned may well split screens but I would imagine it is always an older hold over and always with the permission of the studios.

Bob
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why can't a hard top book like a drive in? 20 May 2013 15:42 #40019

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You're right. I didn't read the post correctly... sorry.

In your master contracts, you will find that you have agreed to give a picture all shows on your screen... at least for the first two weeks of booking. You might also agree to a minimum number of showings. During those first weeks, if you want to split the day between movies, you will have to get the studio(s) to agree... and that's going to be rare.

The double features you see on our drive-in screens are almost always a combination of one first-run release, playing with something that's at least two weeks out. In our case, we frequently rotate the same shows we opened brand-new, giving us additional weeks with the titles.

Interesting this should come up though. This week, I am playing the first "first-run double-feature" I think I ever have.

We have 3 screens. With "Star Trek", "Epic" and "Fast and Furious", we're full-up. The studio wants "Hangover 3" to play, but we have nowhere to put it. In the first example of inter-studio cooperation I can recall, we (and some others) will be putting "F&F" and "Hangover 3" on the same double-bill.

Should be a crazy weekend! Hope it doesn't rain.
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