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TOPIC: I am dreading January

Re: I am dreading January 23 Jan 2005 11:55 #9758

  • muviebuf
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Recently everytime I see a notice, it is about another bump or postponment of movies for the first part of this year. Warners has dumped "Sound of Thunder" altogether and pushed "Rumor Has It" back to November.

Universal pushed The Interpreter from February to late April.

Paramamount has bumped "Sahara" from March until April.

Miramax has pushed "Mindhunters" from March until May.

Pickens keep getting slimmer and slimmer.

Anyone ready to bring back "Passion of the Christ"?
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Re: I am dreading January 23 Jan 2005 13:08 #9759

  • Large
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Meanwhile the art theatres are having a very good January with the following films.

Sideways
2 Golden Globe Awards
Best Picture - Comedy; Best Screenplay;

House of Flying Daggers
In Mandarin w/ English subtitles

Hotel Rwanda

Kinsey

Closer
2 Golden Globe Awards
Best Supt. Actor - Clive Owen; Best Supt. Actress - Natalie Portman;

A Very Long Engagement
In French w/ English subtitles

What The BLEEP Do We Know
Vera Drake
Being Julia
The Motorcycle Diaries
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Re: I am dreading January 23 Jan 2005 13:38 #9760

  • leeler
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let me ask this then......"Do art films follow a pattern for release"? It seems like the wide release stuff gets released in November-December and then nothing until about May-August. Are art films similar? I have toyed with the idea of delving into some of the more narrow released stuff to fill in some gaps but I haven't done it yet (except for Fog of War last year which didn't do too well).

[This message has been edited by leeler (edited January 23, 2005).]
"What a crazy business"
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Re: I am dreading January 23 Jan 2005 13:55 #9761

  • Mike
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Art Films definitely have the big release pattern of late in the year because they play and need the maximum exposure of Golden Globes & Acads. There are other releases all year long but less so.

For a theatre like mine I would go out of business in a few months if I tried to schedule like Large's Santa Rosa (150,000 people and most expensive cost of living in the USA) theatre. I'm on the coast of Maine in a town of 6400 and being hammered by a blizzard currently.

We play art and lesser known stuff but not faster than our itty bitty population can absorb or know about it.

We play two 8-9 week series every year. One starts next week: MC Diaries,A Very Long Engage, Beyond The Sea, Bad Education, Vera Drake, The Sea Inside, Kinsey, Hotel Rwanda. That get's them to April.

Plus we play pseudo-art that is wildly popular and as it becomes avail. Sideways (1500 prints and we still can't get it!), Million Dollar Baby, Phantom, Aviator, etc.

We also do another 8-9 week series right after Labor day and final it into the big Novemebr releases.

This period and the post labor day offer a lot of chances to split due to less intense release sked in general.

Where's the dammed snow shovel!



Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: I am dreading January 23 Jan 2005 14:34 #9762

  • leeler
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Mike, how do Art films do for you? I guess I am playing what you call "psuedo-art" because I'm playing 'Finding Neverland', 'Aviator', and 'Million Dollar Baby'. My town has 1600 in it and I have to draw from the farming towns around me to stay in business so I wonder how well films like these will play in this area. The buzz so far has been strong for Baby and Aviator but not so much for Neverland (perhaps because it's many weeks older)

[This message has been edited by leeler (edited January 23, 2005).]
"What a crazy business"
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Re: I am dreading January 23 Jan 2005 18:18 #9763

  • 4thGen
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Leeler, You were wise to back out of Elecktra but don't count out Racing Stripes for January. It's actually performed quite well for me despite the fact that its a non-Disney family show. As for art house films, you never know how they will perform in small towns as every area is different. We are currently showing The Aviator and business has just been OK. I do expect it to pick up if it gets a bunch of Academy Award nominations this week. It certainly draws an older more sophisticated customer. If I might offer a bit of advice, instead of trying to date things 4 to 5 weeks in advance and before they open nationally just list them on a coming soon page. Then every Monday you can respond based on how a certain title has opened. Knowing what I know now I never would have opened Elektra and held Meet the Fockers a fourth week. There are some advantages to not playing "on the break".
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Re: I am dreading January 23 Jan 2005 20:35 #9764

  • leeler
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Thanks for the advice. I am glad on one hand that I can back out of stinkers but I keep hearing about people who have already seen something I'm planning on getting, and that is frustrating. It's a fine line to walk, I think. What I do now is have a schedule about ten weeks long and have about half of it listed as tentative. My customers know not to count on a movie being here until it no longer says that. I don't often back out of films altogether but some times the dates slip on me.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: I am dreading January 24 Jan 2005 01:06 #9765

  • 4thGen
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Lee, I can sympathize with people telling you they've already seen a movie you are planning on showing. Back before we added our second screen I heard the same thing also. I often wondered if people really realized what they were saying to you. I mean, would you walk up to the owner of the local shoe store and tell him how great these new shoes are that you bought in some big mall when he's sells the same kind of shoes. I don't think so. People are funny though and they have to see the hot movie right away. Thats why if you book on a "Monday for Friday" basis you can respond to the marketplace faster. Meet the Fockers is really the hot movie for the sub run theatres right now. All the three day towns around me have played it and done huge business. A friend of mine in a farming community like yours played it last weekend and said he sold out on Saturday night and did big business the other nights too. He held it over this weekend also. Knowing this you could call up Universal and book it tomorrow morning. Don't sell yourself short with the film companies. You've got a nice theatre, decent grosses, and now that your open seven nights a little more clout with the studios. The whole idea is to get the hot stuff as quickly as possible so that your customers will at least check your theatre first before deciding to go to a movie in another town.
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Re: I am dreading January 24 Jan 2005 10:30 #9766

  • leeler
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I just don't know if I have the stomach for booking that way. I'm also not sure how exactly I could advertise effectively that way. By that time the papers will not be able to get my ad in time, nor will I be able to advertise on my website or on the marquee for more then a few days. I salute those that are able to pull that off, but I must be a wimp or something. I like knowing what I'm going to get a few weeks in advance and letting my customers know well in advance so they can plan for it. I also like letting them know what I plan on getting so that hopefully they won't go see it somewhere else. Anyway, that's my philosophy on it....
"What a crazy business"
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Re: I am dreading January 25 Jan 2005 02:18 #9767

  • 4thGen
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Lee, There's nothing really wrong with the way you book your theatre, in fact that's the way every small town theatre owner used to do it. I can remember my uncle used to drive to Minneapolis every 4 weeks or so and visit "film row" as they called it. Every studio had a sales office in Minneapolis and you'd go visit each one, tell them what you wanted and when you wanted it. Then we'd have a showbill printed for a month and peddle these showbills to all the surrounding towns. We quit doing this about 1982 and have booked on a Monday for Friday basis since then. I've got about 42 other screens within an hour of my town so my philosophy is I have to play stuff as current as possible to keep people from driving elsewhere. It's too bad that your newspaper deadlines are earlier than Monday. Our weekly paper comes out late Wed. afternoon so I've got until noon on Tuesday to get my ad in. The main thing is that your consistant with what you do and your customers are used to it.
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Re: I am dreading January 25 Jan 2005 22:59 #9768

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Lee, I book very much like you do and have for the past 35 years. I always want to have some time to advertise my next show. I try to book at least two weeks in advance, with a "wish" list for several weeks beyound that. Most of the time my wish list comes true. It's the next attraction that is really important, and I seldom ever change that at the last moment, other then for holdovers.

My small town is different then yours in the fact that it is really a suburb of a medium size city. We have 90+ screens around us within 25 miles. We are the farthest out suburb, as there are four other small town between us and the city. None of them have theatres any longer. We are on the northeast side of the city. On the southwest side is another town with a single screen subrun. We both have the same availability. I, as mentioned above, always book in advance. The other theatre always books on Monday for Friday. For that reason he plays ahead of me about 50% of the time. About 25% of the time we play together, and the other 25% I play ahead of him. The interesting thing is that even when I play after him, I gross twice as much as he does.

I personally feel that my policy of adequately informing my patrons in advance is what gives me the better results.

That's not to say that that policy would be the best for everyone. Each theatre must experiment until it finds what works best for them.
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Re: I am dreading January 27 Jan 2005 13:27 #9769

  • puzzlegut
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I will say that the first half of January has been pretty good for us. I was expecting grosses to take a sharp dive after New Years but it seemed to stay level. The higher than expected grosses were due in large part to the sucess of Meet the Fockers and the decent openings of Coach Carter and Racing Stripes.

However, last weekend our grosses when way down but I feel that was mainly due to the snowy weather. I kind of doubt it will get better this weekend since we don't have a brand new movie and I think the first weekend of February will not be good either since we couldn't get a print of the Wedding Date. Hopefully it'll do better when we show Hitch.
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Re: I am dreading January 06 Feb 2005 19:52 #9770

  • ttroidl
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we just ran racing stripes last week, and I was suprized to have it out gross most of the First runn stuff I ran last year!

WAy out grossed lemony Snickets 1st run, even slightly better than incredibles did 1st run...

Cute movie for kids...

Tony.

tony.
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