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TOPIC: Visit to a small Town theatre

Visit to a small Town theatre 02 Apr 2005 10:11 #20604

  • jacker5
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Greetings friends,

I am just back from visiting family in FL. I was taken to there small town cinema in the village dating back more than 50 years. It is a single screened theater that is not really attractive eon the outside but when you step through the doors it is liking go back in time.
At the box office you are greeted with a sigh that post rules of attire Boys and Girls. There is a listing of things the boys and girls cannot wear when entering the theater. No baggy pants down with your butt exposed. No low cuts shirts or short skirts it was amazing that this was posted and enforced. The owners were older people original owners and stand strong by these guidelines.
The lobby is not large but quaint with the original decor. It is a small 200 seats but what a presentation. Nice clean bright picture with a very good sound system. They still use the old reel to reel and have not changed to automation.
There is 3 larger megaplexes about 30 minutes away but people choose to go here week after week. It was packed the Friday I went and Oceans 12 was playing. That came out Christmas and I saw this past week.
Small town charm is all the provide and it works!

Jacker
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 02 Apr 2005 11:06 #20605

  • Ken Layton
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Wow! Pictures-pictures-pictures please!

Film done right by mom and pop. Excellent!
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 14 Apr 2005 11:07 #20606

I have lived in both city and small town surroundings in my time. I'll take the small town any day. There's a lot to be said for the small town theatre. Bright light and glitter is all fine if that's what you want. But I go to the movies because I want to see what's playing. If the presentation is done well, then that's all I really care about. Most small town theatres that I've been to do this painstakingly well. They don't hide behind the glitter.
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 16 Apr 2005 14:06 #20607

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Could you guys be more specific? I guess I'm looking for some examples of the differences you're speaking of. I hope I'm doing it right but I can only guess if I'm doing it right or not.

Thanks

Lee
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 16 Apr 2005 23:14 #20608

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Small town vs. big town.

Big town is 15 screens and I don't care about the customer. Just buy your ticket at 10.00 spend another 20.00 I concessions and sit down and shut up.

Small town. Knowing all your customers by name and saying hi. Feeling that your serving your customers at a personnel level and they appreciate it. You may not have stadium seating and state of the art Dolby digital sound. But you put a top notch performance and listen to your audience on what they want to see.
They know you by name and come back because of your clean bathroom and smile when you come and a happy goodnight afterwards.
Sounds far fetched...then you must live in a big city. Cause in a small town you get that. And I rather go to the small town cinema any day over a big overscreened shoebox theater.
Hope that helps Lee!

Phil
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 17 Apr 2005 01:15 #20609

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Thanks Phil, that's what I've been doing. My town is probably as small as they come (around 1500 population). I smile and greet my customers on the way in and out. We share a little small talk if the line isn't too long and then I thank as many of them as I can on the way out. I call as many of them by name as I know. We do have Dolby Digital surround sound and real butter for the popcorn. I hope I'm honing in on what the locals want to see (even if it doesn't match my tastes) but every now and again I really screw that part up. This week I'm showing 'Be Cool' and the reception has been very cool to say the least. Last week we played 'Because of Winn-Dixie' and we had solid shows all weekend long and strong weeknight ones too. I think I'm learning.......
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 17 Apr 2005 08:32 #20610

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Lee,

May sound silly but it has worked in a indy cinema near me. They have a suggestion box in the lobby. This way people are free to suggest whatever they want.
Either you can have a pad that they write down or have a preprinted lip (That works better) With offerings of the next few months. So this way you have something to go on!
This place even goes so far as to have a frequent movie goes club and they meet at theater once a month and give there input!

Phil
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 17 Apr 2005 09:35 #20611

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I think something like that might work here. Maybe give some multiple choices. If you open it up too wide then you never know what might be suggested.

I have had really solid business since Thanksgiving except for the following flicks (maybe the movie's fault, maybe something else):Raise Your Voice, Ocean's Twelve, Sideways, Be Cool. I have had suprisingly good business from: Wedding Date, Because of Winn-Dixie, In Good Company, Meet the Fockers. Wedding Date was the most surprising until I learned that the star's (Dermot Mulroney) father graduated from our local high school and used to live in town here. They did a story in the local paper about it and that really drove business up.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 17 Apr 2005 12:39 #20612

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I grew up in a paper mill town of about 5,000. It had one single scree theatre (which is still there & run by members of the founding family).

One thing I remember about going to the movies was that the owner would almost always be at the door as people LEFT, thanking them for attending his business. It's just a little thing, but I remember that from over 40 years ago.

I'd have to think of the psychology of this, but today it seems a pretty good move. Businesses are more likely (if they even go this far) to welcome you INTO their place, then ignore you after they get your money. Dick was always busy, getting things ready for the show... but whenever he could, he made the time to show his appreciation that you took the time to spend your money at his place.

Just a small thing, but I never forgot it... and I've never experienced it at a multiplex (except ours!)
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 23 Feb 2006 10:04 #20613

To leeler who was looking for some examples. One that comes to my mind right away is the lack of person to person exchange in a big megaplex type theatre. The robot at the ticket booth takes your money and hardly if ever smiles. The concession stand people rush you through so they can get as many sales as possible. I understand why it's this way, but in a small theatre people are, for the most part a lot more personable.

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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 25 Feb 2006 21:55 #20614

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I was at the Majestic in Conway Village, NH a couple of weeks ago. I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't been there since it caught fire last year. Turns out the main theatre hasn't been rebuilt (despite what their website implies) but they've created a makeshift 47-seater out of the back of the cafe they're opening next door to the cinema. Tiny screen, mono sound; not exactly Schneider lenses and SDDS. And yet, it was a positive experience, and here's why. The owner, Joe Quirk, addressed the crowd for several minutes about the film we were about to see (Capote) and coming attractions. His update on the rebuilding project was a bit sobering in that he's trying to pull off a project on the scale of the Portsmouth Music Hall renovation without benefit of a government grant. Insurance helped but didn't really make him whole, so he's got to finance the rest of it out of his pocket. Still, Joe's determination plus the goodwill generated by that level of personal contact with patrons should ensure that the rebuilding stays on track.
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Re: Visit to a small Town theatre 25 Feb 2006 22:11 #20615

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I am familar with that theatre and comunity very nice all around. It deserves the renovation it is getting and I beleive the town will come around an support that.
Keep us updated on its progress. It is so nice the northern part of NH and the towns usually support there local businesses!
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