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TOPIC: It's begun ..

It's begun .. 14 Sep 2012 03:05 #39188

  • slapintheface
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THIS IS ON LINE
Oh, sweet, sweet small town local theater. With your student discount prices before 5pm that still accepts my College ID that expired in 1999, what will I do when you are gone?

Even though I've been out of the country the last two months that God-awful sci-fi movie that only grossed $5mill I wanted to see is thankfully still playing at you. You really shouldn't have.

Between the fifteen year old selling me my ticket and the eighty year old tearing it, I see the entire breadth of the human existence in your hallowed halls.

The perfect amount of staleness to my Mike and Ikes keep them hard and crunchy in my mouth as I breathe in the faint smell of mold and mildew from the 80-year old curtain that swings in front of your single screen that shows a movie with more scratches on the damaged 35mm print than an infant who falls into the lion pen at the San Diego Zoo.

Let me take one last look at you and remember those dark corners in the back where as a young many a make-out session and subsequent 'accident in my shorts' occurred. For you could never afford enough ushers to keep their eyes out to make sure there was no hanky panky. Ah, youth.

And so we bid you adieu small, local theater. You may never had had enough letters to fully spell out the title of the movie you were playing on the marquee, but you still sent that poor immigrant handy-man up on the ladder to try his hardest anyway. And we salute you. Goodbye.
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It's begun .. 14 Sep 2012 15:06 #39189

  • Mike
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JPRM wrote:
Oh man, I don't mean to imply at all that lionheart - or anyone else on this forum - has done a poor job of running a theater. I tried to make it clear that there are many reasons a theater can lose business over time, and many have nothing to do with mismanagement.

But to respond to the point about theaters with dirty floors that are only open three days a week "doing something right" simply because they're not yet shuttered, I can't agree. If they're attracting a bare minimum number of Customers to stay open and poor management is largely to blame, they're doing far more things wrong than right. Sure, you can say "digital killed of the dreariest theater in town." But that's to ignore that, well, it was the dreariest theater in town.

I rise, with all due respect, to defend small town cinema operators and theatre owners all over the USA. To imagine as JPRM does, that these theatres, most of them in smaller towns from desert to mountain to bayou and the forested north, from coast to coast and sea to shining sea are by and large "badly managed and dirty" and suffering from that condition and not the challenge of digital system is pure and utter hogwash, horse pucky, ignorant, and insulting to this hard working, creative, spirited group of pillars of their communities. I don't know where JP lives but he/she clearly knows nothing about smaller cities and town or the theatres in them and his comments that demean small theatre owners and operators as a group are simply mean spirited and worthless. The theatres we speak of here are dealing with the realities of being in a small town with minimal population, as are many many other businesses and organizations and communities: the problems of doing business or operating anything with a small population are serious and daunting. Instead of belittling and attacking small theatre owners as incompetent we should focus on what the true challenge is: a technological change that is extremely expensive and without making that change they will cease to be able to operate. I have traveled and visited theatres all over the USA and Canada and have been in many small theatres as well as large. None of what JP paints with a broad brush is true. Are there a few lousy theatres here and there? Sure. But it is no truer of multi plexes in bigger cities: businesses both large and small can be poorly run. I've been in pit major city multiplex theatre manned by a legion of seemingly uncaring vested teen robots as well. That does not mean all multiplexes are dirty and poorly run. I have watched as theatres all over the USA and Canada have fought to survive and reset themselves as the technology challenges them and they were abandoned to fight alone. My hat is off in admiration to those tough, sharp, skilled operators. Fight on.
Michael Hurley
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It's begun .. 14 Sep 2012 19:53 #39191

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Man, some harsh words coming my way. I'm a big boy and can handle these things, but I do wish y'all would note the entirety of things I say rather than just finding the part you don't like and punching me in the throat with it. I do write these things assuming y'all can keep up.

So, if blaming digital for every theater that's closed over the past two years works for you, have at it, I guess.

But just so you're clear about where I'm coming from, I'm the proud new operator of a one-screen theater which had been neglected and mismanaged in the years before I got it. If I hadn't taken it over, folks would surely have put it in the 'death by digital' column. My friends, I confess that I know very little. But I do know, with absolute certainty, that this would have been grossly inaccurate.

So, heartless rat that I am, I took over a theater that probably would have closed for good. (Heck, a good half of y'all here told me not to do it, which probably makes me brainless, too.) I bothered to spruce up the lobby, clean the joint up and hire a GREAT staff. I'm there every day to work it and to greet every Customer who walks in the door. This isn't boasting; it's the sort of thing you do to keep any small business going.

Now whether any of this makes me tough, sharp and skilled or not, I can't say. But I do wish that folks would get that people with those qualities are not the ones I'm talking about when I very specifically mention failing theaters where (to quote myself) "poor management is largely to blame."
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It's begun .. 14 Sep 2012 20:32 #39192

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In the last 2 weeks i have spent over $2,500 to travel to theaters up for sale.
I recently went to Boston and Florida and saw a theater in both locations .
Both locals were in good locations that could easily support indi theaters . The theaters were up for sale because of "digital conversion ". These theaters were so disgusting that no one I know would support them. There are many great indi operators for sure but the reputation of dumpy sticky floor cinemas are there for a reason.
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It's begun .. 17 Sep 2012 18:46 #39202

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JP: I apologize if I was too harsh. Sorry about that. I don't sit here all day reading every post... as sometimes you can tell... so I jump in and write from the heart. My point about mismanaged dirty theatres is: they were doing fine... or not so fine... but "operating" until digital came along. There is a place for small operators in this world. They do not all have to be perfect. They do not all have to be other than what they are in the place they are. Whatever may be wrong with the movie business these days it isn't that some couple got tired of sweeping the floors in their 1 screen somewhere.
Michael Hurley
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It's begun .. 19 Sep 2012 02:59 #39208

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Mike - very kind of you to say. But no need to apologize, really. I always like your posts and have learned a lot here, so I never take it too personally if there are disagreements.

Anyway, it IS very nice of you to say that and I do appreciate it. Okay...now we can get back to arguing! *L*
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