Banner
Home Forums Movie Theaters The Lobby Other Income Possibilities
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: Other Income Possibilities

Other Income Possibilities 03 Oct 2003 08:01 #6448

  • leeler
  • leeler's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1342
  • Thank you received: 12
  • Karma: 12
I met with a business consultant the other day and he got me wondering about the what other possibilities I should consider in addition to the movie theater business.

He suggested I put in long tables in every other row (or something similar) to open up the possibilities for using the theater during the day for lectures or classes, or even hors d'uevres (I'm sure I misspelled that one) for parties, etc. I'm going to have a DLP projector and I think that opens things up from a projection standpoint as I will be able to show computer presentations, television, DVDs, and I've even thought of hooking up a game system to it for birthday parties, etc.

I guess my question is: Should I pursue all of these possibilities, other ones, or none of them? I am a little bit nervous at this stage of the game. The building should be open in five weeks (well, it better be anyway). Do I make a change to the business plan at this late stage of the game? Or should I add some of these options down the road?

Here's a little background: small, one screen in rural Iowa. population for the area is about 10,000. No theater competition in the county. Theater has been closed for about 7 years. Lots of community support to get it going again including sizable donations and a volunteer list of over 100 people.

What should I do?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Lee
"What a crazy business"
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 03 Oct 2003 11:43 #6449

  • Ken Layton
  • Ken Layton's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 863
  • Thank you received: 4
  • Karma: -1
You're going to have a nice theater, but don't ruin it with tables & chairs in the auditorium. The hard surfaces of the tables and chairs will radically alter your acoustics and you'll end up with an echo chamber. Just because you have a video projector doesn't mean you can just show anything (you're a 'public performance' venue). Any video content you show you'll have to pay one or more companies for it. Most schools/colleges already have plenty of lecture/classroom space on campus and don't need to go elsewhere.

If you have room in the lobby stick in a couple of pinball machines and/or video game machines provided by a local amusement machine operator. They own & install them and you get 50% of the money from them.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 03 Oct 2003 18:13 #6450

  • outaframe
  • outaframe's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 672
  • Karma: 0
LEE <> I agree with KEN on MOST of this... You are in the Movie Biz 1st and foremost... After you get things rolling, you can try a few variations on that theme, and continue or discard things, depending on how well they work for you, but ALWAYS make Movies your main priority... I do NOT agree with KEN about the video machines: you will have enough problems with teenie-boppers without the grief surrounding having an arcade for them... IF you don't keep a tight reign on things, your theater can quickly turn into a teenage hangout, and you can kiss your adult business goodbye... With an arcade, you invite non ticket buyers off the street, and they will drive you wild with wanting to talk to so-and-so who's in the theater... Your lobby will turn into a madhouse, and kids will be traipsing up and down your theater aisles, making noise and disrupting the movie... Get 'em in, seated in their seats, and quiet, and KEEP 'em that way... That's your number one job: anything that interferes with that is counter-productive... The Norman Rockwell picture of the "good" kids of several decades ago is a long gone memory: a few of today's bad apples will spoil the whole batch, and they will turn on you like a pack of wolves, even in rural Iowa... IF you are not experienced in dealing with several hundred of today's teenagers in the darkened atmosphere of a movie theater, you are in for a rocky experience for the next few months... This is the most unpleasant part of the business, I kid you not!...
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 03 Oct 2003 19:24 #6451

  • LanceC
  • LanceC's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 117
  • Karma: 0
I have video games. Simple rule..they are for customers of the theatre, not for people off the streets, but they are in the exit side of the barriers and if you start this theatre with discipline in mind, and enforce it, the kids will get the picture. So maybe you have to kick them out 10 or 12 at a time...just do it. Don't let them put feet on seats, in short..be a prick...it is your theatre. Wont' be long before they all know that it is a place to watch a movie..not a hang out. But do it so they understand...or be sure your staff enforces your rules...there is no young man that can stand to be embarrassed by a young woman...especially in front of his friends.
Try tablet arms on a few seats if you think there is a call for a meeting place. Tables won't work, as Ken said...an acoustical nightmare.
Be sure to train the staff to know what you consider acceptable behavior on the part of patrons. The older crowd has little patience with enthusiastic youth...
my two cents
lance

[This message has been edited by LanceC (edited October 03, 2003).]
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 03 Oct 2003 20:44 #6452

  • leeler
  • leeler's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1342
  • Thank you received: 12
  • Karma: 12
Thanks all,

My lobby is pretty small so there's no room for video games. I was thinking of putting in a Nintendo machine hooked up to the DLP projector for birthday parties. I think playing video games on the big screen might be a money maker, but who knows?

Ok, if no tables in the auditorium for acoustics sake, then what about portable lap tables? Or should I just skip that avenue altogether? I can't be buying a building and only using it a couple of hours in the evenings, can I? There has got to be some good uses for the things during the daytime, hasn't there?

I'm looking into licensing for NFL or MLB games, at least. that might take care of some weekend daytime business or even Monday night football. We'll see how that plays out. If it's cost effective then I might consider it.

You guys have me worried abou the teenagers. Could somebody start a thread about what I might be in for? I'd love to be prepared (at least a little) to what I have in store for me. I've been told to build the place strong enough for cattle to come through and then I might have a prayer of keeping the place from falling apart on me.

Thanks again all, this site rocks!

"What a crazy business"
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 03 Oct 2003 22:26 #6453

  • Ken Layton
  • Ken Layton's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 863
  • Thank you received: 4
  • Karma: -1
One thing you could do is maybe expand the food menu a bit and open up for lunchtime food sales. Some of the people that work in surrounding businesses may stop in to buy some hot nachos, coffee, hot dogs, etc.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 04 Oct 2003 00:28 #6454

  • outaframe
  • outaframe's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 672
  • Karma: 0
LEE <> You HAVE to make your theater PAY as a movie theater FIRST, then consider those extras as frosting on the cake... IF you're not playing a Sunday Matinee, big screen NFL games are a possibility, BUT they will be nothing that the customers can't watch at home (for free,) where they can have a beer, and a smoke, if they want: things they can't have in your theater, unless you plan on a sports bar license of some sort... Monday night football is the same story, and would have to supersede your Monday night movie showing, which will NOT delight the film's distributor... That movie on your screen is the only exclusive property you have, and that lasts ONLY during the short time window before it's available at the Video rental place down the street... The birthday party idea sounds like the most viable of those you've mentioned... Maybe you could have a mid-week matinee for (primarily) senior citizens?... IF you have a local Senior Citizens Club or nursing home which is interested, that might be a possibility... Maybe an occasional school supported showing of some educational value film (historical, scientific, etc)... But realistically, you're going to be looking at general release pictures for the majority of revenue...

Regarding teenage customers, BURNEY had a thread about the theft of her lavatory faucet handles (here-Back Room?) about a month back... Film-Tech has several ongoing threads on the subject... Teenage is somewhat a misnomer for the largest problem group... I would say that it's the 11+ to -16 age group which will drive you to distraction... Below that age, they are generally managable, but just before they turn 12, they develop an attitude, and authority of any kind is their enemy... By the time they're 16, they're into cars, beer, pot, and the opposite sex... But, in between, they consider your theater as their private turf, and that it is your obligation to put up with whatever they decide to do, and they have "rights" which are greater than all the rest of your customer's... Over 16, singly, or with a date, they are usually not a problem, however a "rat pack" of 17-18 year olds (boys OR girls) can be a real threat to your person and/or property... They are big enough and strong enough to do some major damage, and have little or no restraint... With these, and drunks, don't hesitate to get the police involved immediately!...

Building it cattle-proof isn't enough, it needs to be bulletproof, and strong enough to support a Sherman tank... Your restrooms and seats are the major targets... No locks on restroom doors, and constant checking is the only defense you have... Keep 'em off-balance and aware that you're always watching them, it's your only option... Catching a kid slashing your seats is nearly impossible in the dark, but on the rare occasions that you do, have him arrested and follow thru with proscecution... That's the only deterent there is to vandalism... Poor substitute for a decent upbringing, but even the "best" families are producing vandals these days, and the word gets around that you don't put up with any crap!... If this sounds like no fun, it isn't, but your survival depends on it...
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 04 Oct 2003 02:05 #6455

  • RoxyVaudeville
  • RoxyVaudeville's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 891
  • Thank you received: 17
  • Karma: 3
I also would not suggest video games for the same reasons already mentioned by others. No tables in the auditorium either.

One of the fundamental faults I find with the theatre industry today is that we seem to have forgotten that we are in this business to entertain. Of course we are in it to make money as well, but that money should be made by enhancing the theatre going experience, not taking away from it.

Over the past quarter century there has been a trend to look for avenues of extra income without any concern that the income be generated from things that add to the overall pleasure of movie going. Such things as video games and screen advertising bring in extra revenue, but detract from the enjoyment of the show and the theatre environment. Video games for the reasons outlined by others earlier, and screen advertising because it's obnoxious, and degrades moviegoing to the same level as television. Neither of those options should be considered to be showmanship, rather just the opposite.

There are many other ways to get more money out of your theatre that will either enhance your movie showings or better utilize your building during normally dark hours.

My theatre is in a small town as well. Maybe not as small, but still small in the overall view of things (pop 10,000 in the town itself, 35,000 within five miles). Yet, I not only manage to make it exist, but have made a comfortable living from it over the past thirty three years. What I do is try to keep the building used as much as possible. In addition to movies, we do or have done plays, concerts, business meetings, birthday parties, private screenings, film shoots for commercials, film shoots for movies and TV, classic car photo shoots, music recordings, music rehearsals, weddings, special movie presentations of Polish, Jewish, and Indian films, church services, as well as premiers of films made by local filmakers. Theatre rentals make up about 20% of my theatres income.

Become community involved. It sounds like you are well on the way to that already if you are going to have volunteers as staff. But, don't stop there. Encourage local service clubs, scouts, senior citizen and school groups to use the theatre. Don't foget the Chamber of Commerce. Become a member, and encourage them to have a or some meetings at the theatre. We have our Chamber Christmas social at the theatre. We have a catered meal on the stage, drinks in the lobby, and then a classic movie such as "It's a Wonderful Life" after. Have tie-ins with museums, libraries, art galleries and the local historical society. Prom night is often a good tie-in by having a well chaperoned late night till dawn show where parents know where the kids are after the prom. Beauty and baby contests, fashion shows and pet shows can be done. Have an awards program once or twice a year to honor local fireman, business leaders, 4H members, service organizations, town fathers, service men and woman, or local heroes. Build lobby displays about those same groups, or the history of your community, it's chief industry, or it's most famous people. Have a birthday club where people sign up and register with the date of their birthday, and you send out free passes to them just before the birthday arrives.

The list can be endless. What is really important is that you want to make your theatre the best know location in town. It should become a household word, a place that the local people think about and talk about on a regular basis. Just make sure that what they talk and think about is positive. You will know that you are getting to that point when you see your theatre being used as a reference point by almost everyone in town. If you picked up our local paper you would be surprised to see how many ads say: next to the Roxy, behind the Roxy, across from the Roxy, two blocks south of the Roxy etc. etc. etc. That's what you want to achieve... you want to become the focal point in your community.

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited October 04, 2003).]
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 04 Oct 2003 10:48 #6456

  • Ken Layton
  • Ken Layton's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 863
  • Thank you received: 4
  • Karma: -1
I mentioned the video/pinball games because we made execellent income on them. We had 10 machines in the lobby of an 8 plex and they were grossing $1,000 to $2,000 a week in the summertime! If you have problems with kids hanging out all the time then you have a weak manager. A strong manager will not have 'hanging out' kids problems at the theater.

Also, have you thought about wedding rentals? A local single screen has a small stage and they rent the theater for weddings.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 05 Oct 2003 17:19 #6457

  • Mike
  • Mike's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 5048
  • Thank you received: 45
  • Karma: 15
No tables but meetings can work. Since you are in a small town you'll still be pressed. Let it organically grow. B-day parties are a good one and the dlp does add the ability for them to bring a video or vid game and since it's a private party they can watch what they want. Little kids will watch anything on a big screen and it does not have to be first run!!!! Same with Star Wars or matrix or Casablanca fans they want to see and hear it big!

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 07 Oct 2003 14:13 #6458

  • BECKWITH1
  • BECKWITH1's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 769
  • Karma: 0
You will have your hands full initially just trying to run a move theater properly. I am not just talking about the opening weekend, but about the first few months. Do not try to add anything else that you don't have to.

Our 4 plex came with 8 video games (4 owned by us and 4 by another operator). We don't care for them philosophically because they do not create the environment that we wish to foster at our theater. However, we took our own advice and did not make any changes initially. We even plugged them in everyday and listened to the incessant noise in the lobby. We found that the kids coming out of the shows would go over and play with them a lot. Unfortunately, that did not mean that they put any money in them. They just touched them all over, sat in the seats and moved the controls.
The older kids used them as a hanging out place to stand while they considered their next move. That meant that we had to watch them a lot because they would wait until no one was looking and go into another theater without paying for another ticket. After 2 months we called the machines owner and had him remove his machines. We attached for sale signs to ours and sold them for the price we expected to get. The change boxes yielded less than $30 for that time period. Our lobby now looks much better without them. We have replaced them with benches for seating and a wall of poster cases. We get a lot more enjoyment out of the poster cases than we did from the noisy video games. Most parents comment that they are pleased that the games are gone as they put a lot of pressure on the parents.

Other income sources - as you master the requirements of running your theater people will be full of suggestions on things that you could do. Most of them are not workable but keep sorting through the ideas until you find something that you can use. There could be a market for day space in your theater but it will probably be for one day events. There is a upsurge in rentals from new churches which do not have their own meeting facilities and this could be lucrative since it gives you steady income at a time that you would not be running movies. The down side is that you must clean your theater from the Saturday night crowd by EARLY Sunday morning. We are currently exploring ways to sell popcorn for tour bus groups and for candy makers to use for popcorn balls and other popcorn based candies. None of these will add significantly to the bottom line but they might be worth doing anyway.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Other Income Possibilities 08 Oct 2003 16:18 #6459

  • leeler
  • leeler's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1342
  • Thank you received: 12
  • Karma: 12
Thanks guys, this is exactly why I love this place. The voice of experience, and the voice of reason. I will take all of your suggestions and opinions to heart and find what works for me.

Thanks Again!

Lee
"What a crazy business"
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
Time to create page: 0.209 seconds
attraction attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction