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TOPIC: Plans for a 4-plex

Plans for a 4-plex 04 Sep 2000 03:59 #667

  • Simfilms
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My family started in the biz in 1913
and we went out in '86. Am interested in
getting back in the biz in a small college
town w/o a cinema but can't find any help
on floorplans/layouts for a small indie
4-plex.
We had two indoor cinemas both single-screen and the layout of a multi-plex
is not within my scope of knowledge.
Can anyone please advise?
Thanks for any help.

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Re: Plans for a 4-plex 04 Sep 2000 16:53 #668

  • Mike
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There are an armload of specialized theatre architects. Many of them are advertising in our classified ads or listed in the directory. Pick up subs to Film Journal and Box Office magazine...both their web sites are linked in our links and you'll find links as well. There's a lot of ads for design services in both mags. Schneider lenses has free software for design. Almost all serious equip dealers will help with design and configuration. Show East in Florida in October is the next trade show for theatre owners and the equip dealers that make us run, as well as film distributors. Take a tour of 20 theatres with tape measure and pad and pencil. Make notes/take measurements! That's a start! The easy part is the design!

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Plans for a 4-plex 05 Sep 2000 16:38 #669

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What you do might depend if you are building from the ground up or renovating an exisiting building into a theater.
-Why a four-plex? What's the population and how many first run screens do you have in town?

I have the only art screen in a town of 50k. one screen is quite enough most of the year. i have 12 first run screens w/in 20 miles of my place. i only do art and independent. no sub-run. This might give you an idea of where saturation is in my neck of the woods (OR).

In my humble opinion, start as small as you can and have room for expansion. Keeps building costs down and first few years of operating costs down. Plus, if it starts circling the bowl (and we have seen enough of that of late), less hassle to bail out.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Plans for a 4-plex 05 Sep 2000 17:28 #670

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Avalon,
Thanks for your input. It is a town
of approx. 8000 pop. and a Jr. College with
a mainly commuter student body; not many
on-campus live-ins. No theatre presently
there, but about 30 miles down the 4-lane
are two chain operations: one 10-screen and
an 8-screen in a big, popular mall.
That part scares me a bit, but I think
if I started relatively small with the newest
craze-stadium seating-I could compete pretty
well. I know how to run a tight operation.
Again, thanks so much and any further
thoughts you might have, I would really
appreciate!

P.S: Thanks to Mike too!

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Re: Plans for a 4-plex 05 Sep 2000 23:59 #671

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SimFilms;
Nice thing about the night before cheap night, plenty of time to write . . . .
You didn't say if you are building or taking over exisiting structure. Under the heading of getting right to the point:
I would be curious if there is any town on this planet of 8000 people that would support a four-plex art house. i would think not. if i were doing what you are considering, i'd start with and exisiting building and make it two screens. one about 120 seats, the other 80. call the movie companies or get a booker and find out if you have to clear the theaters down the road (meaning you can't touch product until they are done with it). If you don't, you can make one screen first-run or sub-run and try a couple hot art titles on the small screen to see if the town picks it up. you are looking at at least three years of no money coming in before you even have a hint if this will work. to paint with a VERY broad brush: you can renovate an exisiting 4000 sq.ft. building (15ft ceilings, no posts)to what i suggested for around $75k(if you do most of the work yourself and there's some nepitisum involved with the inspectors). you have to keep rent under .40 per sq ft. if you go over $75k and .40 per sq. ft., you'll never catch up. even then, after three years yer gonna have to gross over $150k per year -- assuming film rents don't climb.
I'd do a hard search and see if there are any theaters grossing that much in a community that small. my last theater was in a community of 10k and we would have killed to have a gross of six-figures in a year.
i have a 100 seat art house in a community of 50k. i renovated an old building and did most of the work myself with the help of my teenaged daughter. we've been open three years and i'm looking at another three before i pull out a wage. i did my homework very carefully and had the help of many theater people. most months we don't even pay the rent. when the rain hits we get caught up on the bills and get ready for the next summer.
think before you leap. get as much info as you can. primarily, find out what you can play without clearing the competition. ok, gotta ck and see if i'm still on the screen. best of luck. Paul
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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