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TOPIC: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town

Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 22 Jan 2011 01:16 #35173

  • leeler
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I don't really keep a blog. One thing with the single screen for sure, it's either feast or famine. As it is currently four degrees outside and that is about the highest of the day you can imagine the famine going on around here tonight.....
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 22 Jan 2011 19:06 #35174

  • rufusjack
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Bob,

I agree with the other comments about the type of movies you mentioned. When we do get a popular faith-based movie (and it has been a while) the best you can hope for is equal to a moderate grossing movie. Those are few and far between. The best promotion is to have the movie pushed by local clergy. And then you get mostly older folks who spend .........nothing at the concession stand.

A single screen in a rural setting like that has been mentioned at the beginningnif the thread will probably play mostly the mainstream successes (titles that gross over $100 million). The best you could hope for on the type of movies Bob is mentioning would be 10% of your yearly gross.

Now move that theater out to the coasts, or be in a college town with a good diverse population or in more of a urban market, then you can play some independent films. But not in a rural Midwest town. IMHO
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 23 Jan 2011 04:09 #35175

  • jacker5
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Here is the story, The Owner of a single screen who is facing marital problems needs to sell his theatre. He would need $265,000 there are 198 seats, they are open ..Friday, Saturday and Sunday sometimes Monday. There are 2 huge apartments on the second floor and a party rental room off the side. There are 2 bathrooms and 1 handicap bath. Small Town population 4211. Classic very artsy mature educated town. Nearest competion 40 miles!

I would need approximately 20% down with financing. I thought that was a lil high for such a small theatre with no potential to expand.
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 23 Jan 2011 06:47 #35176

  • rufusjack
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Seems high to me too. How much is being collected in rent on those two apts? Willing to give it's approx. Yearly gross? Shape of the building?
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 23 Jan 2011 21:07 #35177

  • jacker5
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The apartments are not rented and he has been in the red the last three years! Cause of only having one show a night three nights a week and personel problems. Has alot of potential before things starting to happen used to do very well. The apartments just were finished not rented yet.
He claims the price is based on debt. I am going to lowball but dont know how low to go.
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 23 Jan 2011 23:26 #35178

  • leeler
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good luck Phil!

Hope you get what you're after
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 24 Jan 2011 21:21 #35181

  • MargaretR
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Leeler-

How do we get in touch with you?
We have a small town (1600) single screen theatre with 190 seats.
We started out wanting to do film but are now doing live theatre.

We do not have 35mm, only DVD.
I am the business manager so I can't elaborate on our equipment but
would like some advice on showing films.
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 24 Jan 2011 22:48 #35183

  • jacker5
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You have to get a booker/buyer for now and either get 35mm projectors and platters or go digitial!
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 24 Jan 2011 22:49 #35184

  • jacker5
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Thanks Lee for the wishes!!!!!!
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small Town 25 Jan 2011 00:03 #35186

  • huishtime
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Hi Rogers

I hope all works out for you. I too own a single screen theater. The big mega-plexes are at least 100 miles from my town and the people of my town will drive that distance to go to one of them, because they have more choices. They also go that far to do shopping too. So play 2 to 3 movies when you are open, just for choices.

Advice #1, be teachable! Meaning don't go into the theater with your ideas already set and that is how it is going to be. You have to learn your town by trial and error. If you can learn you can earn.

Advice #2, From reading comments left by Leeler and Revrobor you have two good people who know what they are talking about. I have worked for big theater companies (like Mann) to small independents, to just single owned theaters. Get all the information you can from these guys. Best thing to do is NOT to talk to people in your own state. Go out of state to learn. Theater owners are at best very protective of their territories and can/will lead you astray.

Advice #3, Owning your own business is like a new born baby that never grows up. It needs constant, and demanding attention. One little slip can cause grief. Make sure you are completely committed to being tied up and having no time off for the first year or so. Don't hire people until you have the money to do so. Remember the film companies are going to want just as much money out of you for their films as they can get. Also, be prepared to pay advances for the first year or so because of film company rules

Advice #4, Find a very reliable Booker who doesn't charge a percentage of your gross. Flat fee Booker's are the best to go with. Next the Booker you find must listen you, and you must listen to them. They know their business and know which movies are going to go over well in your market. Booker's are a dime a dozen, you need one that you respect and he respects you.

Suggestion #1, With the economy in the tank right now, people are looking for cheap entertainment. A six-plex 35 miles away isn't that far to drive. When a person wants to see a movie, they will go where ever to see it. If they know you are going to have it coming and with a date they may wait.

I've have kicked around for years the idea of going discount and playing my movies for $2.00 a seat just to get more people in my theater.

The reason why I've kicked this idea around is the current down trend in movie attendance nation wide. Ticket prices are going up, while attendance is going down. Reminds me of the 1950's when Television took over the entertainment field. Theaters survived because of one simple rule. People have to get out of the house. They will either go bowling, or to a movie or to dinner. You provide a cheap form of entertainment, they'll come to you. Get your ticket prices to high and they'll drive 100 miles to see a movie somewhere else.

Suggestion #2, Be flexible, work with your schools, invite the kids who excel to a movie during school hours. Have your schools do a reading marathon during the school year and reward them with a movie at the end of a school year. There are many other ideas that can be promoted with schools too

LEARN all you can, be aware of every possible thing that can break down or go wrong. For example I just received a movie that had never been used before and was missing one reel, 5 reel movie and I only had 4 reels. Always expect the unexpected

Good Luck
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Re: Advice on Single Screen Opportunity in Small T 30 Aug 2011 15:31 #36884

  • cparker
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You sound like you know what you are talking about. I have a similar situation: starting a small theatre in a resort town. Any chance you could call or email me?
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