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TOPIC: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message

Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 09 Oct 2003 12:07 #20250

  • take2
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Well, this summer has been pretty much a bust as far as blockbuster films were concerned. What was there, LITTLE NEMO and maybe BRUCE ALMIGHTY, everything else was mostly ho hum. We as film exhibitors see that there is a definite problem, why doesn't Hollywood?
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 09 Oct 2003 12:44 #20251

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Business was up 4% and a new box office record was set. What do you want?
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 09 Oct 2003 16:36 #20252

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Maybe you need to be more creative in your booking and not book just what Hollywood is promoting. Local promotion is a must too.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 09 Oct 2003 17:01 #20253

  • Mike
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and did anyone say...... Pirates?????

This biz is cyclical and runs hot and cold. I always take faith in that the creatives are working overtime trying to make some good films and I trust them to do it as fast as they can.

and Bob.....I say this with love in my heart...... wassamattah with Hollywood? That's where they make the movies! Yes, they often promote something that isn't very good but often that's what people want to see! I rely on Holly to promote people into my theatres and I get a thrill when I walk into a MickeyD and see Nemo. It's nearly impossible to swim against that tide.


Michael Hurley
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 10 Oct 2003 16:29 #20254

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>

and Bob.....I say this with love in my heart...... wassamattah with Hollywood? That's where they make the movies! Yes, they often promote something that isn't very good but often that's what people want to see! I rely on Holly to promote people into my theatres and I get a thrill when I walk into a MickeyD and see Nemo. It's nearly impossible to swim against that tide.


[/B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I guess I'm just puzzled by the way today's exhibitors seem to have let the distributors take over the operation of their theatres by booking only what the distributors are promoting on the tube Mike.

There are films being made all over the world and many other fine films being made in "Hollywood" that get little play because most exhibitors have given up local promotion and limit themselves to catering to the audiences that the distributors want them to cater to.

That's what makes me wonder "What ever happened to showmanship?"

Bob Allen
The Old Showman

[This message has been edited by revrobor (edited October 10, 2003).]
Bob Allen
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 10 Oct 2003 18:21 #20255

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BOB <> Although I tend to agree with your assessment that many good pictures go unplayed, and that Showmanship is about dead, I can also see the reasons that these things are true... Cost is a major reason: newspaper space costs so much more than it did a few years ago, and newspaper readership continues to dwindle... The average customer is bombarded with throwaway (advertizing oriented) "newspapers," junk mail, phone promotions, Email spam, radio & TV ads... So, even the best newspaper campaign (which USED to be the backbone of movie promotion) is seen by fewer readers, and costs exponentially more than did when it was really effective... Studios have, for them most part, backed off of display ads, except in major markets, and even there it is much less than what was the norm a few years ago... They are spending their promotion money for TV ads centered around when the picture breaks, and a short time after... They also exploit "entertainment" shows with star appearences, and product tie ins through fast food places, etc... AND part of that high % common with first runs is to cover that expense... THEY do your promotion FOR you, and CHARGE you for it... AND if you play on the break, or very close, you DO benefit, however how much you benefit is subjective, BUT the film cost doesn't allow you to do MUCH local promotion, and have anything left... It's a simple economics thing: you can't AFFORD to do much other that bare bones local promotion... The studios garner the big bucks from the major markets, and that's where they concentrate... Back when there were fewer pictures, and fewer prints, no HBO, and no Video sales/rentals, the big pictures opened in major markets, and trickled down... Sometimes, the little independent might have to wait months, or even a year for a certain hot picture, but the word of mouth had a chance to build, the rental terms were usually dropped to where you could AFFORD to promote it locally, and you might even be able to weedle some co-op from the distribtor... It worked well... Do you remember 4-walling?... Usually, a small indie producer would haggle with all the available screens in an area to "rent" your theater for a week or so, at a negotiated flat rental, or at a % off the top of the BO gross... They would work with you to place their newspaper ads at your contract rate, and have a "blitzkrieg" TV campaign in your area... The pictures were usually a MAJOR disappointment, but they brought ticket buyers out of the woodwork!... In the beginning, these were unbelievably successful, but after the public smelled out what they were actually going to get for their money, the later efforts were a (well deserved) miserable failure... ROXY, and a few other posters here preach and practice a form of Showmanship based on promoting their THEATER, rather than necessarilly what they are playing... AND within whatever is left of Showmanship, that is just about all you can afford to do nowadays... Customer recognition and goodwill is a fleeting thing, and as long as you can maintain it, however you do it, it's the best thing you can do to keep your theater alive and kicking... That will also make it possible to play SOME of the pictures you mention at a profit...
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 11 Oct 2003 01:01 #20256

  • RoxyVaudeville
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outaframe... I couldn't have said that better myself. Very well done, and unfortunately TRUE!

The days of doing trades with newspapers is a thing of the past. They only want money, and lots of it, and give little in return. The only time that they will do a tie-in is if it's from the big guys, as in national accounts.

It's not impossible to do local promotion, but it's very very tough. It seems like every time I suggest to someone about doing a tie-in or trade they want me to do screen advertising for them as my contribution, and I refuse to do that.

As outaframe said, everything now is so expensive. Even if you want to do posters and flyers, the cost is high. I really think the best way to get the word out now it right here on the internet, through websites and e-mail newsletters, and that cost is very low. However, at this point there are still a lot of my mainstream patrons that don't have computers or aren't connected to the net yet. I do get a lot of reaction from my e-mail newsletter, but it isn't enough yet to use as a vehicle to sell an otherwise unknown film yet.
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 11 Oct 2003 03:51 #20257

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ROXY <> Thanks for the kind comments... Actually, the Showmanship was the FUN part of the business, once upon a time... I used to make it a practice to do something special, imaginitive, and different about twice a year, just to spice things up a little... During those slack times when nothing new looked promising, or there was something going on locally which would sap your regular audience, you had nothing to lose by trying something different to bring out the seldom-comers... Disney re-released their better pictures every 7 years, based on the premise that there was a new generation of movie goers who hadn't seen it the last time, and they were doing pretty well with the idea, so I decided it ought to work with other product... Most film distributors had a library of prints just sitting in the exchange, and there were always a few older blockbusters, or a sleeper amoung them... You could usually buy it for 25%, or maybe even a flat rental... If I had seen it, and knew it was quality, that was a plus, but I also had a library of "Boxoffice" reviews and synopsises to check out, and if there was still "paper" and a pressbook available, you could chart your own course... Some of those pressbooks were fantastic, and thanks to offset printing, you could tailor make your add campaign just the way you wanted... I made my own radio commercials too, and did 'em with all the bells and whistles... THAT was the FUN of the business, and you can't beat the feeling you got from taking a $25 flat, and a hundred dollars worth of newspaper space, and turning it into a thousand dollar gross (in yesterday's dollars)... Sadly, I'm afraid those days are long gone, thanks to today's costs and the fact that most of those prints aren't available except on tape or DVD... But it's still a great memory of what Showmanship ONCE was!...
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 11 Oct 2003 18:34 #20258

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Outaframe & Roxy:

Thanks for the comments. It brings back good memories. I can't help but think though that there's more we can do to pump up sales especially in a small town no-competition situation (which I hope to be in before too long) with what we used to call "sub-run" product.

I guess my comments were based on what I've seen some small town operators do (or not do) as they insist on playing day-and-date and end up paying up to 90% of their BO gross.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 12 Oct 2003 00:22 #20259

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HI BOB <> I doubt that any indie ACTUALLY hits the 90% mark, but you won't need to sweat it IF you pad up your house "nut" when you sign your first contracts... They'll accept up to $12-$15 per seat without too much question, beyond that you'd better be able to prove it... Once you settle on a "nut" it's cast in stone, and increasing it is nearly impossible, so cover your back... Playing a mixed bag of late first run & second wave will run 35-60%, and if you're a careful, wily booker, you'll average out in the 42-45% range, over the long pull... Maybe you'll end up in a spot with a newspaper that hasn't raised its rates to the ridiculous range, and be able to afford to do some real promotion on certain pictures, but I wouldn't depend on it... One thing about it: it's your canoe, and you can paddle it any way you want to...
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 12 Oct 2003 00:55 #20260

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I know there are indies out there that hit the 90% mark occasionally, as I did it once. I was pretty upset about it and was actually successful in increasing my house allowance with that distributor, after I paid the 90%, of course. I then called the other distrib's to negotiate my house allowance and got one other to increase it substantially. I have no house allowance with one of the major distrib's and I am quite happy about that. You can explain that H.A. stuff to me a hundred times and I will still not understand it other than to know it needs to be high.

I don't do too much advertising here, but one thing we do is dress up for some of the movies. When I played TUXEDO we all wore tuxedo's. (One of my employees got married that weekend and two others were in the wedding so that worked out pretty good.) More recently, we wore my old swat-type police uniforms for SWAT and western shirts and hats for OPEN RANGE. My customers liked our attire and wanted to know what we were going to do for the next movie. Since it was SEABISCUIT, I joked that all the guys would be in their jockeys.
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 12 Oct 2003 10:49 #20261

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We are very committed to showmanship. The show starts on the sidewalk with neon/ lighting/ etc. etc. and into the lobbys and theatres with great carpets/ lighting/paint/friendly staff/ etc. etc. That said: we won the national Zorro promotion (2500.00!) so we know how to do it and we do: pirates! Elf/ Nemo/ Scary Movie we're promoting around it big time. We just showed an unknown indie and we get newspaper articles/ director/ etc/ etc. But.....but: no amount of local promotion can compete with the national promotions that occur around a film.

My motto is that we can have the nicest movie theatre in the world but people go to the movie not the theatre. If you have a nice theatre so much the better. If you promote on top so much the better.

Michael Hurley
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Re: Hoping Hollywood Gets The Message 12 Oct 2003 12:13 #20262

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And in defense of Mike:

I run an Art House in a market that was crying out for art. That said, we only draw 10% of the available people to our theatre, because only 10% of the people are interested in art. My market is 150,000 people in town and 400,000 in the county.

Mike would die a quick and certain death if he ran my schedule. I know, he tried. His market is so small and his theatres so few, that he has to run the three pictures that he thinks his town will like the most. He runs some stuff he doesn't like because he knows that there will be ticket sales for it. He doesn't run some wonderful films he loves because he knows that his audience won't go for it. Then he runs two art series in the spring and the fall for the faithful 10%.

In a way, Mike puts more thought in to what he is promoting than Ky does. We just play the top half of the art world. Our competition just plays all of the commercial world. Mike has to choose the best 3 films for his market each and every week. And when he misses (which we all do) it costs him dearly.
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