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TOPIC: My Vote for Theater Owner of the last Quarter Century..

My Vote for Theater Owner of the last Quarter Century.. 17 Jul 2003 13:37 #20143

  • Alysa
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I spent some of my growing-up years in a small desert southwest town that used to be on Route-66 - but has long-since been relegated to just another “exit” off I-40.

When I lived there the pop was about 25K – 30K. At that time we had one indoor theater and one drive-in – the drive-in has long since been demolished and the remaining theater was replaced with a new one (about 350 seats) around 1960.

The town is still hanging-in-there but the population is down to 8,800, and has been for the last 25 years and, the last time I visited, it boasted a two-person police force.


The nearest town (theater) is some 70 miles away (aka, just down the road when you live in the southwest). I drove by the theater and it still looked very much the same as it did back in the 1960’s – not run-down, maintained, and just about the same.

Last night I was browsing CinemaTours and saw this theater listed as “open”. I couldn’t believe it, so I called the theater and the manager answered the phone. I spoke with him for about 10 minutes and we talked about old times. Seems he bought the theater about 25 years ago from the original owner and is still running just fine – thank you very much!! Wow!


I don’t see how he stays in business?? I’ll concede that the theater is probably free-and-clear, but with only 8,800 people as a customer base, how can he possibly even pay the electric bill, much less anything else?

Even if he were to show 2nd run movies for a week at a time in order to pay a low percentage, I don’t see how, with only a town population of 8,800, he can do it?


But he has! And successfully for 25 years!! This guy gets my nomination for the most incredible owner of the last 25 years!!


Alysa
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Re: My Vote for Theater Owner of the last Quarter Century.. 17 Jul 2003 14:02 #20144

  • John Pytlak
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He probably knows his customer base very well, provides entertainment they really want to see and refreshments they like to buy, and has "Film Done Right" to the best of his ability. A single screen theatre in a safe area can sometimes be run as a "one man band" on slow nights, keeping employment costs down.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
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John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: My Vote for Theater Owner of the last Quarter Century.. 19 Jul 2003 20:46 #20145

  • wimovieman
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There are many single screeners running in smaller populations in my area. I have 5 now in 5 towns and 3 counties--my busiest one is in a town of 1600, has been operated non stop since built in 1934, previous owner had it for 26 years, I have had it for 4. My second busiest 18 miles away in a tomn of 2900, which is the largest municipality in a county of 16,000. This one was built in 1950, and ran non-stop til 1988, at which time did close. I reopened it 7 years ago and rather than splitting, put all money into bringing back the art-deco/international.

My smallest town is 870 with a 1948 single that ran til 1995, I bought and re-opened in 1999.

8 miles away is a 1949 single that was closed for one year in 1989, re opened in 1990, I bought in 1999--this one actually has stadium seating--but it takes up 50 feet of a 100 foot auditorium and is almost 30 feet up at the highest row---REAL stadium
. This town has 3100 population, and is one of the most depressed counties in our state---but still operating with a small profit.

I have one more in a town of 3700 which also was closed for about a year in the 80's--I bought it one year ago.

Large population numbers are nice--but if the community wants their theatre operational, no matter what size, it seams they will support it.
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