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TOPIC: Newbie, stiff competition?

Newbie, stiff competition? 17 Nov 2004 01:37 #9333

  • k-town
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Hey, I'm a newbie hoping to open a 1-2 screen theater in my town. I live in a small Idaho town, population: 9,000. I believe that a movie theater out here would do pretty well considering we've never had one before and there's no source of entertainment whatsoever here. The delema I'm having (besides finding funding) is competition. People in my town are very lazy, so having to drive 15-20 miles can be quite a hassle (especially due to gas prices). Now, I've seen a lot of people with competition that far and doing fine, but how about having an EDWARDS TWENTY-ONE SCREEN THEATER within 20 miles (pop: 170,000)? Oh and in another direction there's another Edwards 14 screen about 25 miles (pop 80,000). Their prices are in the $8-9.00 range and only brand new movies.

I'd only show dollar-movies like 4 weeks after release. I feel that since they're different types of movies people would go for it. Please give me some advice because info is pretty hard to come by online.

[This message has been edited by k-town (edited November 17, 2004).]
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 17 Nov 2004 09:15 #9334

  • leeler
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That's pretty much been my strategy and it has done pretty well for me. A 9,000 population sounds about right. With lower priced tickets and concessions you should be able to bring them in. Don't kid yourself, though. It won't be easy and you won't get rich doing it.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 17 Nov 2004 10:24 #9335

  • RoxyVaudeville
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If you plan on charging $1.00 for tickets you will be a "discount" house. You will not be able to get film 4 weeks after release.

Each distributor has their own policy for subrun or discount. Some as soon as the film has finished the first run in your competative zone. Some set a national discount date well after all theatres charging more have finished. Others have a per capita charge for a fixed period of time, where you could play the film if you wanted to, but by paying the per capita charge you would be paying over 100% for film rental.

If your area is like my area, you could expect to wait 8 to 10 weeks or more to get product for a dollar house. That's why there are no dollar house in this area any more.
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 17 Nov 2004 13:21 #9336

  • rodeojack
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At a buck a pop, you're going to need about the whole town to visit your theatre each month... plus most of their friends. Most communities I know of don't enjoy quite that level of patronage.

There are few examples where dollar houses are viable... meaning you make enough money to run your business and not have to actually live there yourself. If you're really set on this kind of business model, find more than one theatre that's making it work. Study everything you can find out about that theatre AND the community that supports it. Considering the challenges involved, there's a lot more about why it might work in a particular place than will be obvious on the surface.
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 17 Nov 2004 17:48 #9337

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thanks for the advice. i'm sorry i made it kinda confusing, what I meant was cheaper movies, not dollar ones. in S-W Idaho we call any movie that's not Edwards a dollar movie, regardless of if it's even like 3 bucks. but anyway, i would probably make it 3 bucks or so, would that allow me to get the movies as early as 4-5 weeks? that's about how long the cheaper movie theaters in Boise get it for. I actually found out that there's one building that would work already and it was a movie theater like 60 years ago, I'm hoping to buy it if at all possible. Do you think I could fully renovate the building inside (seating, screen, projector, etc.) basically everything but the building itself, for under $120-grand? It would probably have to be a single screen because it's part of a very tight mall. I might be able to expand later on.

one more question, I've looked a lot on this site and I couldn't find anything about individual prices of anything but projectors. how much would a screen cost, or a sound system? how much are new seats?
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 17 Nov 2004 18:18 #9338

  • morris
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If you visit "www.iceco.com", there is a "Products" link that has catalogues for various products. There is a screen catalogue too. "seatingconcepts.com" is a site that sells seats.
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 17 Nov 2004 18:51 #9339

  • k-town
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all the sites including seatingconcepts.com don't show prices, but I'll check out that other one, thanks.
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 18 Nov 2004 08:23 #9340

  • leeler
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I charge $3.50 for a ticket and haven't had any problems. Typically my movies are 6 to 10 weeks old but after the holidays I'm going to cut that in half. I polled the studios about this and they were all for it.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Newbie, stiff competition? 18 Nov 2004 11:42 #9341

  • Ken Layton
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For equipment prices you need to actually contact a theater equipment dealer, such as Scott Hicks' American Cinema Equipment (www.cinequip.com or 1-800-956-6589) in Portland, Oregon. Scott has TONS of good used equipment (including seats and concession stuff) in his warehouses and he'll wheel and deal to make you a nice package deal.

Also John Eickhof recently retired and closed his company, Northwest Theater Equipment (www.nteequip.com) in Wendell, Idaho, but he still has some equipment left he'd like to sell. It would be a good idea to contact him, but sometimes he's hard to get a hold of as he's on the road alot.
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