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Newbie with a few questions 15 Nov 2004 12:23 #9317

  • Karla
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Hi All,

I'm new and I've been reading like crazy through the archives, Exhibition 101, and some of the association websites. I've got a few questions though.

Oh, I guess I should introduce myself first. I am working for an economic development agency in Northern Saskatchewan that is working with a community group that wants a movie theatre in our town. There are no movie theatres for about 250km to the south and not one to the North of us. Our community is about 6,000 but we are a big tourist spot in the summer and we've got lots of surrounding communities to draw business from. We are thinking about building a 2 screen 1st run with a concession (no old theatres to buy, old one burned down
We are thinking that it would be community owned and operated - what we really want is the service and no one in private industry is willing to take on the risk. Ok, so that's me. Now for my questions...

1. Are there any Canadians out there willing to chat about our unique experience? Things are different across the border and I've got some questions about distributors, equipment dealers, and regulations.

2. Has anyone ever heard of a co-operatively owned movie theatre? This is kind of what we are thinking about - a non-profit co-op. Are there any non-profit theatres around?

3. Are there any other small towners? How many screens/seats do you have? Is this too many/too few?

Thanks everyone! I look forward to reading replies and chatting with you all in the future


Karla


No, we don't live in igloos!
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 15 Nov 2004 14:06 #9318

  • Large
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This is an idea that I find very intriguing. A community owned theatre in a small town without any competition. The pressure to squeeze every nickel out of the place to show a profit is reduced and the risk is vastly reduced as well.

First I might look in to making it a 4-screen complex. One 200 + seat room and 3 100-seat or less rooms. The reason for this is that most films require a 4-week contract and this way would guarantee a new film every week. The community pays to acquire the land and build the theatre. Then you contract out the management of the theatre to a person who can be financially responsible for running the place properly. Let's just say that income after expenses is split 50/50 with the community in an effort to pay back the construction costs.

If a theatre were run in such a manner, the ticket prices and concession prices could be kept reasonable to promote attendance. I don't mean cheap, I mean reasonable.

The town could do everything in its power to promote the theatre. Meetings could be held there and it could become a type of community center. The idea is to make it feel as part of the town so that everybody is aware of its existence. I've run my theatre in this town for 5-years. We are very successful but sometimes I still meet people in the street who don't know we exist.
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 15 Nov 2004 14:41 #9319

  • Karla
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Thanks for your thoughts Large!

We are totally thinking that this could become a community centre of sorts. We are a VERY isolated community and there isn't much to do here that doesn't involve VLTs, booze, curling, or hockey. One hope is that we can build a stage into the theatre so that there could also be live performances. Our community is also in desperate need for a tourist information booth, so we are talking to the town about partnering the two services.

There is also a possibility of having the theatre run mostly by volunteers to cut down on costs (and having a paid manager and projectionist) or something like that. The desire is for the service first and foremost, so we are hoping that we can rally a lot of community support for the project.

I have so much to learn about the industry....it's a good thing I won't be managing it!
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 15 Nov 2004 14:53 #9320

  • rodeojack
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Hello, Karla.

What an ambitious project. I hope you can find a way to make it happen!

As for how to do it, I have no clue. However, there is a drive-in theatre in the States that was purchased, reopened and operated as a community project. Perhaps there's something there you could use... a contact, if nothing else.

Here's the link to their site.
http://www.hullsdrivein.com/

... and some info & pictures..
http://www.drive-ins.com/theater/vathull

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited November 15, 2004).]
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 16 Nov 2004 09:16 #9321

  • Mudbrother
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Hi Karla,
Welcome to the forums! We are a non-profit theatre, although not a co-op. The community is heavily involved with us, and vice versa. I'll be happy to answer any questions about our own project and how some of our unique problems may apply to what you do. We use a volunteer staff for concessions and ticket booth, although we have paid managers/projectionists. We do mostly movies, but have the capability to do live performances, mostly music concerts. There are some tricky bits with trying to run a multifunction facility that does cinema, as many times the needs of the two are very different. My main piece of advice if you wish to go with a multifunction, is that you have to decide what your focus is going to be, movies or live performances. Once you've decided, you don't compromise on the quality of your focus. You have to do one thing well, otherwise you end up doing everything only halfway.

If you have specific questions, feel free to contact me directly, I'll be glad to answer when I can.

Good luck!
Rance
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 16 Nov 2004 14:01 #9322

  • outaframe
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HELLO... Here are a couple of community owned and operated theaters that I am aware of: Danville, IN (small Indianapolis suburb) and Fowler, IN (very small town)... Last time I looked, both had links from CinemaTour.Com... Click on the "cinemas" box in LH upper corner of the CinemaTour home page, then on Indiana... You may find some worthwhile information by looking into these...
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 16 Nov 2004 17:03 #9323

  • crshedd
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eldora, iowa has a single screen movie theater that is owned and operated by the town. it is staffed by volunteers and a paid manager/projectionist.

you can find them at [url=http://www.eldora.net.]www.eldora.net.[/url]

good luck.

'hey! there's no party here!'
jeff spicoli
fast times at ridgemont high
'hey! there's no party here!'
jeff spicoli
fast times at ridgemont high
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 16 Nov 2004 17:08 #9324

  • Karla
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Thanks for all the leads everyone! It's great to know that there are so many other non-profit groups out there.

I would still love to hear from the Canadians about their experiences in the industry too!
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 16 Nov 2004 17:09 #9325

  • John Pytlak
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I worked at the New Angola Theatre 1967-1970:
http://www.cinematreasures.org/theater/8028/

"The non-profit group which owns and runs The New Angola Theatre is the Claddagh Commission. Their purpose is to aid and provide employment opportunities to the mentally challanged and others who might need their assistance. So when you see a movie at The New Angola, you'll not only have great movie experience but you'll also be helping a worthwhile organization.
I first discovered the Angola theatre in 1996 and seriously considered leasing it from Dightner (sp?), who owned the theatre at the time. The theatre's mechanics and dire need of improvements scared me away. It was nice to return to the theatre which was almost mine and actually see a movie. The theatre is a second run house but both the admission and concessions are reasonably priced. I saw "Anchorman" on August 28, 2004.

posted by Richard G. on Sep 1, 2004 at 9:32pm
"

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
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John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 16 Nov 2004 17:53 #9326

  • revrobor
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Hi Karla!

As you have already learned there are a lot of non-profits around and I think it is a very workable idea.

I just jumped in here to disagree with Large. Four screens in a town of 6,000 is just too many. A twin would be more than enough and would save you a boundle on equipment costs. The idea that the more screens you have the more customers you will have works only in larger metro areas.

There are a couple of non-profit theatres (one owned by a college) in the area where Jack and I are from. Perhaps Jack can provide some contact info for you.

Best of luck.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
"Back In The Saddle Again"
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 16 Nov 2004 20:13 #9327

  • rodeojack
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Ahhhhh.... just ignore Bob.

He's griping because he puts 24 miles on his shoes every day... just walking his booth!
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Re: Newbie with a few questions 17 Nov 2004 21:06 #9328

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Boy!, you've got that right Jack. It has caused some injury to these old feet. However, the Doc gave me some meds for the pain and right now I'm feeling PRETTY DARN GOOD! Whoopie.

Hey, when we gonna meet?

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
"Back In The Saddle Again"
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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