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TOPIC: wanting to open a theater

wanting to open a theater 01 Nov 2004 01:50 #9235

  • Kqrc
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Hello all
Im new so forgive me if i ask dumb questions,

i would like to open a single screen theater and wonder what the cost would be to build a new one or try and rehab a old on, my theater would not be the typical theater i would have table and chairs instead of regular style theater seats. the reason for this is i would be serving beer and have a full menu to order from, i have the resteraunt exp but not very much at all on the movie biz end i have read several posts on the cost of film bookings and im unsure how the little guys are treated as to getting the first runs vs the megaplex guys i live in a major metro city we have more theathers than you can throw a cat at but none with the concept of what i want to do, any help would be great and thanks for anyhelp you can give me
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Re: wanting to open a theater 01 Nov 2004 08:19 #9236

  • jimor
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Read through recent posts in the various Forums here and you will see possible estimates of cost-per-square-foot, but really, so much depends upon the area you are in and the nature of your site and the extent of your design. Local codes would have to allow what you want, and not all do, since older fire safety laws usually require a maximum number of seats per row and that such be anchored to the floor. If such codes apply, can you get them changed?
As you surmise, being a restrateur is not sufficient to know the exhibition business, so it might pay to first become an employee of a cinema and work your way up to manager as the best way to learn the business.
You mention a single screen, and as the many posts here make clear, they are rarely profitable in these days, and the fact that you have lots of competition only makes that idea more impractical. You would have to have the most wonderful food and service to compensate, and that is difficult to work out with those wanting an atmosphere quiet enough to enjoy a film. Create too much of a party hall, and the place becomes lots of noise with a film only incidentally in the background. It may be hard to get a contract with a distributor or booker under such circumstances, yet there are 'dinner theatres' in some communities that make it. You might ask Jay Hollis, owner of the sofa-seat ROSEBUD CINEMA in Milwaukee how he has been doing it for six years in a small, converted movie palace. Search for his web site on www.google.com Best Wishes. Jim
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: wanting to open a theater 01 Nov 2004 08:21 #9237

  • izod
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I'm looking to build a 10-screen in an existing building, and I'm looking at $100-$125 per square foot plus $120,000 per screen. But read here, its quite helpful
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Re: wanting to open a theater 01 Nov 2004 20:06 #9238

  • Eat
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Uniqueness (and even quality) of the form of food and drink is probably not going to be enough to get you by. You really, really want to be in an area where you are opening new films not playing something that played ten blocks away for three months. That niche is becoming increasingly difficult. Ask your booker about finding a zone where you can actually show some movies while they are still making money. Smarter people on this site will correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like a higher percentage of a movies business is happening in the first few weeks of it opening, and the trend is increasing.

Second, with a cinema grill kind of concept; it is probably even more important to have more screens. You want to utilize your lobby, staff and in your case, kitchen as much as possible. If you only have one screen, you will probably only use all of that for about 20 minutes at the start of each movie and then it will sit and cost you money the rest of the time.

Not to rain on your parade, but these are things you may want to look into before spending the kind of money that izod is talking about.

Good luck and let us know what you do.
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Re: wanting to open a theater 05 Nov 2004 01:43 #9239

  • Mike Spaeth
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Izod - your figures seem a tad bit high. For a new build, a number of $85-$90/square foot is pretty decent for the building, plus another $150,000/screen for FF&E or so. It's all dependent on the equipment you use, etc. though. Are you talking stadium seating? If so, that would add to your cost, especially if the existing building didn't have high enough ceilings ... and would require digging down to accomplish this goal, which could be quite expensive.
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Re: wanting to open a theater 05 Nov 2004 02:43 #9240

  • Kqrc
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Hello Again
As for the seating it would be just table and chairs 300 people max maybe a few more but depending on the size i can get 300 is a good bet i would be using wait staff to serve the food and bev so my lobby will only have the bar with the kitchen behind that i have found a 4 screen theater that has been closed for about 10yrs now it's more than what i need but im going to look at it anyway
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