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TOPIC: Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts

Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 17 Sep 2013 19:53 #40290

  • Hatman
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Live in small 5,000 person town that 40 years ago had 3 single screen theaters and closed the last one in 2008. Trying to reopen. could seat 300 - 700 people. was built in 1939. have been reading the forms for almost 2 weeks. Looking at remodeling and reopening the 1 screen. Is there anyone out their that has done well with a single screen 1st/ 2nd run movies ? if so tips please? closest theater 1 hour + drive away (4 screen).
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Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 18 Sep 2013 00:11 #40291

  • revrobor
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You're going to have to consider Digital withing a year. Do you have the money to do that? A single screen in your town can be successful but you need a good booker and a good manager. PM me and we'll talk.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 18 Sep 2013 12:23 #40293

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I don't think I could open without upgrading to Digital... trying to find one to set up as part of the price of opening.
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Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 18 Sep 2013 13:00 #40294

  • Keweler
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I guess it depends on what you mean with "doing well". Is this going to be a hobby or main source of income?
Tips? Don't spend all your money on the renovation as it will take time to build your audience
Jay
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Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 18 Sep 2013 16:14 #40295

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Keweler wrote:
Tips? Don't spend all your money on the renovation as it will take time to build your audience
Jay

That is good advice. When I renovated, twinned, and reopened an old theater, I thought I was being conservative on estimating the cost of the renovation, but it ended up costing me twice as much as expected.

All the building systems, such as electrical, plumbing, and heat and air, that I thought would be at least partly useable were not useable at all. My building was built in about 1893, but underwent a massive renovation and was converted to a single screen theate in 1941. You could easily be faced with similar problems since your building was built in 1939.

A lot of stuff that has been in the building since the beginning may not be up to building codes, fire safety codes, and handicap accessiblity codes. You need to find out if you have to bring everything up to code or not before you commit. It's hard to get a good estimate on the cost of a major renovation, unless you know exactly what's going to be done before you get started. There may be many surprises ahead of you, so it's hard to get even a good ballpark figure. I learned a rule of thumb for renovations that I hadn't heard before, but I have actually proven it true myself. "Renovations (or remodels) will cost you twice as much and take you twice as long as you expect." That was exactly the case for me, so now I believe the rule of thumb is a pretty good one. Whatever you think it's going to cost, double it. And don't forget to have cash reserves set aside to live on for the first few years. I didn't have enough left for that.

Then again, maybe your remodel will not be as extensive as mine. Some people might think a remodel consists of repainting, changing floor coverings, drapes, screens, seats, and the equipment in the booth. I wish that's all I had to do. And no, twinning wasn't a major cost driver. It probably only added maybe $15K at most to the cost... a fraction of the total expense. Now with higher equipment costs and little availability of used equipment, that number would be much higher, but at the time I had low cost options in these areas.
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Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 22 Sep 2013 01:07 #40296

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If your a single I would look into standing out from the others! Programing should be made maybe more away form the blockbusters and book alot of family fare and arthouse! Also maybe a cinema cafe! Simple food and table service along with liquor will do the trick! It will make up for the lack of screens!
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Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 22 Sep 2013 12:37 #40297

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In a town of 5,000 with no other movie theater, I do not believe going "away from the blockbusters" would be the right thing to do. If there is strong competition, that might be the case. But here there is no other theater for more than an hour drive. Art house fare would struggle there because of the low population. Family friendly movies are a great idea though. I just think that they should be the hot new releases and not some old or offbeat stuff. You are swimming against the current if you go the other way. People in small towns want to see the latest, greatest thing, just like everyone else.

I once looked at a theater that was 60 miles or more from the nearest theater. I thought it had great potential, but when I started doing an informal poll of local people, I learned that they didn't think it was a big deal to drive an hour into the bigger city. They liked the better selection of restaurants and the feeling the outing was more special. In some other place, they might much prefer to stay close to home. You need to know your town.
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Trying to Open Single Screen Thougts 22 Sep 2013 12:47 #40298

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I agree it is all about knowing your town and area, and for having family here in this town for 5 generations I think i do. Yes it is a day trip for most if they need to dive a hour for a target or like, and people would to spend their time and money in town. Their is a strong push from the local's to encourage people to 'buy Local' anything. I like your idea's so thank you, I think the key is in the Hot new releases that family's can come and see together. I don't think I need to stand out as much as sell them as much stuff as I can once they are inside. and find ways to use the building during non movie times.
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