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TOPIC: I'm going to be a chain!

Re: I'm going to be a chain! 07 Dec 2011 17:35 #37576

  • rufusjack
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leeler wrote:
we decided to do no upcharge. We can always add it in later if we find it to be too expensive. so far, it is difficult to see. If the glasses become something we have to buy then we may have to do a 'glasses' charge or something like that. time will tell. so far we have gotten many kudos for taking over and not raising prices. $7.75 adults and $5.75 kids and matinees

Again much thanks for being a great guinea pig for the rest of us! What is you split of 2d vs 3d assuming you are playing both on the same screen?
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 08 Dec 2011 12:48 #37580

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we do not currently play 2D when there is a 3D option. 3D has not been available in my area before so it is a new experience for nearly everyone. Perhaps things will change in the future.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 08 Dec 2011 15:46 #37581

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(start sarcasm)
Damn it Leeler, you are not being a good guinea pig!
(stop sarcasm)

It seems like it wears off in as little as 6 months.

If you listen to the "3d is dead" crowd, they will claim that 3d adds nothing to the movie story and people hate 3d period. I happen to believe much depends on the 3d upcharge. We ran some kid movies this past summer in 3d and only charged $1 and barely heard anyone complain about those being in 3d.

It is my belief on average that the tickets would be 50/50 if there was no 3d upcharge. I think it would be pretty close to 50/50 if it was only $1 upcharge.

Keep us posted and much thanks.
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 08 Dec 2011 18:35 #37582

  • slapintheface
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Almost every major multiplex no longer plays the the film in just 3d- the pic has to open in 2d or they loose many patrons. I love 3d- but its done other than the occasional film that will do well. To many 3d films has killed the market.
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 10 Dec 2011 15:38 #37594

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I agree there have been too many. The number has come down a bit and needs to come down to about 1 per month.

Has any theater done no 3d upcharge and shown both 2d and 3d of the same movie? I am aware of one theater that gives 3d glasses for free on Disney movies since Disney wants a piece of his 3d glass rental charge. He has not had a movie to give numbers on yet.
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 10 Dec 2011 16:09 #37596

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Leeler, how has business been for your six screen? What have been your biggest challenges in running two locations? Thanks for the input.
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 11 Dec 2011 19:15 #37607

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Running two theaters is difficult but it has largely been overcome. We recently hired a second assistant manager for our single screen and that has been a blessing for us as we have been run ragged ever since we have made the offer for this business. We have cloud-based software which allows us to do our computer work from multiple locations (Quickbooks Online is awesome). Now we don't work any shows at either location but just work behind the scenes mostly at the six screen theater. Once summer comes around we will most likely, be working shows again at the six screen.

Business has been spotty for us. We took over on July 1st of this year and July was the busiest I have ever seen a movie theater be. All shows were full, deposits were huge, expenses were insanely high and we thought we were going to be rich beyond belief. Then came every day since July.......

Our town is literally on the Mississippi river (a portion of it is on an island in the river) and as such it is a tourist destination. Lots of boaters, campers, etc come every summer, spend lots of money and then leave. For our theater we do like many other theaters do and pray for rainy summer days. When that happens watch out. What it also means is that once the summer is over our business suffers greatly.

This year it started in August (usually it waits until September). We all know what crappy titles there were in August through October. There were some decent titles (Thank God for Disney this fall with both The Help and Lion King 3D) but not near enough to keep a six screen theater in the black. So, the bank account suffered for many weeks afterwards.

One thing I have found is that the sales figures of our theater all have an extra digit to them versus our single screen. The problem is that all of the bills that come in have that extra digit as well. Our first electricity bill for that July was over $4K! Payroll for all of the shows all day long and late into the night every day of the week was enormous, too.

The holidays, of course, are a welcome sign that no, your not doing something wrong, and people do like to go out for an evening after all. Twilight was as big as we expected and Thanksgiving was great for us, but now we are back to having slow times again until (hopefully) this coming weekend where things will start to turn around again.

Historical data of this theater shows that January through March are not much better then the fall months are so, in all likelihood, the shot in the arm we get for the holidays will be nullified by the dearth of business in the months ahead. This will likely make us limp into the summer when things will turn around again and we'll be on easy street again.

WHAT A CRAZY BUSINESS THIS IS!

Lee
"What a crazy business"
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 11 Dec 2011 20:26 #37608

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Leeler,
Thanks for being so candid. Giving the pros and cons. With all that you know now, would you still do it? If so, what would you do differently, if anything. Also, are you willing to share your experience with digital, as far as who did you go with and is everything running smoothly. How many screens have you converted? We have an opportunity presented to us that is similar to your situation and would love to talk with someone who has experience.
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 11 Dec 2011 22:44 #37609

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I'd be happy to talk with anybody about my experiences.

We went with our local theater supply company, Midwest Cinema, out of Des Moines. The prices were competitive and I am familiar with and trust the guys that work there. I won't say it was a seamless transition because it was rocky as hell, to tell the truth.

We bought GDC servers and NEC projectors plus new silver screens and replaced most of the behind the screen speakers. Most of the audio racks received new JSD100 sound processors as well. We now have one auditorium that is 7.1 sound (our largest) and all the others now have 5.1 sound.

When we bought the place only one screen had 5.1 sound and the rest had front/rear setups. One thing I have learned with digital is that 7.1 sound can be a pain. It requires different macros, a different set of electronic keys (KDMs) and a different file on the library management system (LMS). We had several panic calls where the sound was screwed up because of 7.1 sound. I THINK we have all of that sorted out now but it was a learning experience.

The servers and projectors I have no complaints about. It is a very easy setup to run day in and day out. There were plenty of screwups on installation that had to get worked out but that is hardly the fault of the equipment.

The LMS was the biggest screw up. Keep in mind this is a VERY expensive computer system. It is about 2 foot by 2 foot by 3 feet and weighs in at about 200 pounds. It a rack system that has about six different components in it. It costs about as much as a new Buick. When it arrived it had a big hole in one of the doors where a forklift ran into it, bending the rack and doing God only knows what kind of damage to the components. I told them to take it back. This is one of the hardest to come by components right now because of the frantic pace of installs so this set us back several weeks. I eventually drove kitty corner across the state and back one day to retrieve it once it was replaced (all day and well into the night) but this saved us about $3K in shipping costs.

In any case, we now have a completely remodeled six screen theater with full digital all tied to the LMS and we replaced all six selling stations in the lobby with a new point of sale (POS) system too. This is all tied togethor so that when we schedule our shows in our POS software it adds the schedule to the LMS and schedules the shows to run automatically. All we need to do is program the trailers and we're off and running.

Would I do it again? Absolutely as we really needed to do something else to make ends meet and this was the most logical thing to do. I would have hired the assistant manager here at our single screen much earlier if we had it to do over again. We haven't really had a day off since we first touched base with the former owner on May Day (we still laugh at the serendipity of it all and yell "May Day!" at one another).

Right now we are upstairs in our home (we live above the single screen) and are trying to get caught up on housework which has suffered the most since this change. It has been one helluva experience and we are just plain tired but in the end it was what needed to be done and will be worth it in the long run (we hope).

Cheers (it's Miller Time)

Lee
"What a crazy business"
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 12 Jan 2012 14:51 #37741

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Hi Leeler,
Can you please pm me with your contact phone #, I would like to talk with you about your digital experience and a few questions about your six screen. Thanks!
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 12 Jan 2012 17:52 #37746

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Hello Leeler,

The question I have for you is: How has this affected your single screen? I know that most of the time you do not open on the break so you are therefore for the most part sub-run. How has that theatre done for the year 2011?

I have always experienced that as a sub-run, my best periods are June-July-August and Christmas day through Easter, followed my a mild spring and a terrible fall. Every season was up for me this past year. Summer and winter were up slightly. April and May were about the same, but the fall was excellent. There were 17 weeks from Labor day through the end of the year. Normally I would expect to make money on 5 of those weeks, lose money on 6 of them, and break even on the other 6. This year I made money on 11 weeks, broke even on 2, and lost money on 4. In fact some of my highest grosses of the year came during that period. I'm curious how other sub-runs did.

As I posted on another thread here at bigscreenbiz, my BO was up 24% for the year. Have others experienced the same?
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Re: I'm going to be a chain! 14 Jan 2012 21:34 #37757

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Before I bought the neighboring six screen we competed and I opened things when I could on the break (if they were the right fit). This year that all changed. Harry Potter was the last movie I opened on the break at the single and may well be the last one we EVER open on the break there. I want to keep the terms and the scheduling flexibility and I want people who want to see something right away to pay the premium price that my six screen charges to do so. Those multi-week deals would eat me alive at the single screen and while we would do great the first week, the second week would be a ghost town and I don't even like to think of those three week deals.

Our year was down about 9% from 2010 which was our best ever year. I'm not sure exactly why but I know we didn't do nearly as well as usual over the holidays. The titles we had I thought would be popular but were not. 2012 has started good but not great.
"What a crazy business"
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