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TOPIC: Digital Fundraising

Re: Digital Fundraising 13 Jul 2012 18:17 #38846

  • lionheart
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Not surprising that the Patio raised over $50,000. They are located in Chicago, and it's a beautiful theater. Should have been a piece of cake to raise the money. I wonder how many small town theaters or theaters that don't resemble palaces can accomplish the same thing, especially with multiple screens to equip.
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Re: Digital Fundraising 16 Jul 2012 05:24 #38875

  • rufusjack
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shelbytheatres.com/

www.coshoctontribune.com/article/2012071...wswell%7Ctext%7C%7Cp

COSHOCTON -- The conversion of film to digital in the movie industry has Shelby Theatre owners Kim and Jodi Lowe going to fundraising measures to be able to keep a movie theater in the community.

Selling theater T-shirts and people learning by word-of-mouth about a donation bucket are ways the Warsaw couple have been raising money for the estimated $140,000 needed to make the digital transition.

"We have to go digital," Jodi said. "Eventually, there will be no film at all."

The digital cinema transition in the U.S. is 73.6 percent complete; 29,277 movie screens have been converted to digital projection out of 39,750 total, said John Fithian, National Association of Theatre Owners president.

"The transition will be completed sometime in 2013, and we expect that film distribution will cease next year as well," he said.

The couple have been working to get other estimates in hopes they can get a lower cost before seeking grant or loan money. So far, all estimates have been about the same, Kim said.

"We're going to have to (go into debt) if we do it," Kim said. "Right now we're just trying to get a definite number set and we'll go from there and see what happens."

Second-run movie theaters still will be able to operate by playing old movies, but they'll never have the movies made after 2013.

"There will always be that kind of film," she said. "But the new stuff coming up there's not going to be anything."

Jodi refuses to step down from her first-run status, hence the fundraising efforts.

"We're kind of just really scared. That's a lot of money," she said. "When we switch over to digital we have to replace the sound, screens ... everything has to be done."

With the couple's lease expiring in January, they'll be shutting the doors if they don't come up with the money. Their passion for the business and having it open for the community is their driving force to keep it open.

"I'm not going to go extremely in debt if the community is not going to support us if we go digital," she said.

Putting in long hours at the theater allows the couple to keep the admission prices down to $2 before 5 p.m. and $4 after 5 p.m., and $2 all day on Tuesdays. Other first-run theaters in the region range from $4.75 to $7.25 for adult matinee with an evening charge ranging from $6.25 to $9.50. A bargain movie theater in the region charges $2 for matinees and up to $3.75 for evening admissions.

"People get mad because (other theaters are) so expensive ... but people don't realize how many employees it takes to clean (multiple) theaters, how many employees it takes to run that business," she said. "I can keep my costs down low because me and my husband are here every day and we are working."

The movie companies take a percentage of admission sales, anywhere from 55 to 70 percent per ticket, Kim said. The two-screen theater seats 320 in one and 260 in the other and averages about 900 moviegoers per week throughout the summer.

"We could raise our ticket prices up (so we could make more), but you're still going to have to pay that percentage," he said.

If the digital transition becomes a reality for Shelby Theatres, Jodi said the admission is only expected to increase by about $1, which is still inexpensive in comparison.

The sale of concessions is what keeps the theater afloat. Like admission fees, cost of concessions are lower than neighboring cinemas, Kim said.

"Our small popcorn and small drink is $4.25 ... (other places) it's $10.50," he said.

Concession profits pay the bills, Jodi said.

"Every one of our bills is paid in this movie theater," Jodi said. "We do not owe no taxes, no back taxes ... the movie theater pays for itself. Everything that comes into this movie theater goes right back out in paying for (it to operate)."

Shelby Theatres has 13 paid employees --three full-time and 10-part time -- in a community with the 11th highest unemployment rate in the state, 9.3 percent in May, every job matters. The county's unemployment rate in May, the latest figures by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the lowest it's been since November 2008.

Jodi always is thrilled when she sees one of the $10 Shelby Theatre T-shirts worn around town. The picture of a movie reel with a bucket of popcorn and a drink is a sign of support.

Susan Brink, of Coshocton, along with her husband and three children, made their way to Thursday's midnight showing of "Ice Age: Continental Drift." The family tries to go to the theater when new movies come out.

"I love the atmosphere, I love to watch the movies, I love the reasonable price, it's just awesome," Brink said. "I literally cried when they had to shut down (four years ago) and when Jodi took it over, it's the best thing ever."

It's not just the higher prices that keep the Brink family from going to other theaters.

"They're not homey. This is home. Jodi makes it a great atmosphere, she tries to do fun things," she said. "It's quaint, you don't get that at other movie theaters."

Since taking over as owners four years ago, the Lowes have installed new seats and new carpet.

"That's the main things we've done for the (almost four years) we've been here," she said.

They have worked hard at catering to the communities movie needs and wants. They work with their booking agent to get a mix of family-friendly and popular box office hits, which in the past few years have included "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn," "The Avengers" and "The Hunger Games."

Theaters without a contract for a particular movie have to wait two weeks before their booking agent can negotiate to get it.

"Two weeks after release is still first run and is still fresh," she said.

Jodi doesn't want to close the business and hopes their efforts to raise some of the money to make the digital transformation pays off.

"I don't feel comfortable asking for help," she said. "I don't want to beg for help."

There's an easy way to show support, she said.

"To help the theater, come in here, buy our concessions, support us that way," she said.

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Re: Digital Fundraising 16 Jul 2012 13:30 #38877

  • Mike
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fyi: I do not know about every last business or person who posts here but as for me I do not post every last private detail of my theatre operations, what I might say to someone in private, what i might talk about with my wife at 3:00 AM, or what my bankers knows. I keep my information here much more general and helpful and hopefully move the conversation in a helpful direction. I do not answer questions regarding, and neither do I think this is an appropriate venue, private financial information. What others do is up to them. But if you ask me here where and exactly what I grossed and netted I probably will not answer. Likewise with other private information. There is lots to be learned without opening the books and operations in a public forum.
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Re: Digital Fundraising 12 Sep 2012 16:04 #39163

  • rufusjack
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Mike wrote:
we're calling it "suggested donation" and if we get in trouble will switch to another method. Thanks/MIke

Still keeping this optional? Your website www.colonialtheater.com/ mentions nothing about it being optional. Possible wording to keep you out of trouble with a studio: "plus a $.25 fee for digital conversion costs, optional, will be waived by request".
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Re: Digital Fundraising 12 Sep 2012 20:16 #39164

  • slapintheface
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Something very unsavory about a for profit business asking for A donation to convert to digital !
Last Edit: 12 Sep 2012 20:18 by slapintheface.
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Re: Digital Fundraising 14 Sep 2012 17:06 #39190

  • Mike
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...any more unsavory than a "non profit" that pays its directors and staff far in excess of what they could earn at a movie theatre? And who fund raises for digital very easily? I think not. here is a link to a CDBG (community development block grant) federal tax dollars for a theatre marquee. If you google CDBG grants you'll find these are made to PRIVATE industry and businesses because they pass the sniff test of supporting community. One reason many of these "for profit" theatres have successfully fund raised is that people value the theatres in the community. As one person said to me regarding my theatre (he's the CEO of a huge funding organization): "Your mission is community driven and based and so it's great the community supports you as well."
Michael Hurley
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Re: Digital Fundraising 20 Sep 2012 03:34 #39223

  • rufusjack
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Mike wrote:
...any more unsavory than a "non profit" that pays its directors and staff far in excess of what they could earn at a movie theatre? And who fund raises for digital very easily? I think not. here is a link to a CDBG (community development block grant) federal tax dollars for a theatre marquee. If you google CDBG grants you'll find these are made to PRIVATE industry and businesses because they pass the sniff test of supporting community. One reason many of these "for profit" theatres have successfully fund raised is that people value the theatres in the community. As one person said to me regarding my theatre (he's the CEO of a huge funding organization): "Your mission is community driven and based and so it's great the community supports you as well."

Mike,

Your theater is the only one that I am aware of who is fundraising for a significant chunk of the investment while receiving VPFs while not telling your customers you are getting the VPFs. If your fundraising goes well you have a good chance to get more than you invested. Then what?
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Re: Digital Fundraising 20 Sep 2012 03:57 #39224

  • slapintheface
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Mike 2 wrongs don't make a right.... The point you make is a correct one and is the main reason I will not work for a nonprofit if it's run by the former owner of for profit !
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Re: Digital Fundraising 20 Sep 2012 19:00 #39229

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If we raise more than we spent? That would be loverly but not going to happen. We are paying for about 100K of the install. Fear not oh ye to worry that we'll raise too much! Gasp. We are fun raising very slowly. When we reach the number we'll stop. I have heard from MANY theatres... both private and non profit... it is not at all unusual that they go past their fun raising goal. Lastly: to those who disapprove? Did I appear to be seeking approval from ye? To be clear: I am not. I'm just telling you what I am doing and that our community is supporting us.
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Re: Digital Fundraising 20 Sep 2012 21:37 #39230

  • slapintheface
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Did not think you were seeking approvel -- just our opinion like yours .
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