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TOPIC: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question.....

Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 24 Apr 2007 10:33 #20789

  • leeler
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I've been going back and forth on this.

If I book Monday for Friday:
I can most likely get movies sooner then otherwise

My flexibility in movie selection increases

My ability to advertise the movie I'm getting and the showtimes goes down. (no newspaper advertising)

My advertising costs go down (smaller newspaper ads)

My customers cannot plan special shows in advance

I will be able to hold movies over if warranted

I may end up holding movies over more and having nothing new for myt regular customers


Let me ask a few questions then.

If I am booking three to six week old titles Monday for Friday will the pressure to hold over when I'm not performing well increase?

What other advertising for showtimes do you employ other then your marquee, your website and your phone message?

Do you generally pay substantially higher terms (I currently pay 35% almost always unless it's a big hit and my 90/10 kick in)?

Will we all be doing it this way when digital comes along anyway?

Why do I feel like ten years from now I'll still be a newbie in this business?


Thanks much everyone!

Lee


[This message has been edited by leeler (edited April 24, 2007).]
"What a crazy business"
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 24 Apr 2007 10:58 #20790

  • rodeojack
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If I'm not mistaken, it seems like most of the big theaters won't release their showtimes until either the Friday of a new week, or a couple of days before Friday (especially if they are advertising in a newspaper).

I used to wonder about that, too. Best I could come up with was the possibility that customers might hold off on attending during the week, if they saw Friday showtimes (or films) that suited them better.

Maybe?
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 24 Apr 2007 11:57 #20791

  • BurneyFalls
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There hasn't been any pressure to hold over anything for me, whether the movie is doing well or poorly. I generally pay 35%, occasionally 40%, and very rarely more.

My only other form of advertisement is my weekly email newsletter.
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 24 Apr 2007 12:01 #20792

  • puzzlegut
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Leeler: As far as holding over a movie after it's been out for 3-6 weeks, generally that's not going to be a problem. About the only movie that I can think of that the studio pressured us to hold over was with Wild Hogs, and that was because we did extremely well with it on the 4th week of its release. Usually if the studio expects you to keep a movie for more than one week (even though you are not opening it on the break), then they'll tell you up front that they will expect you to do that. But almost always when we're done with a movie, we'll call them on Monday and say "we're done with 'x' movie" and there generally isn't a problem.

Besides the marquee, website, and phone message, we send out an email once a week with movie information. Also, if we know we're going to get a movie, we'll usually put posters in our lobby with dates on them.

Most of the time when we get a film 3-6 weeks after release, we'll pay the minimum (35%). Of course this will vary depending on the movie and how big it is. But if it's not the minimum that we have to pay, it's usually something like 40%, but that doesn't happen all the time.
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 24 Apr 2007 12:04 #20793

  • Mike
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# 1 great discussion: thank you for all the thoughful, insightful, helpful comments: you cannot buy this sort of expertiose: you folks are the tops.

Questions: If I am booking three to six week old titles Monday for Friday will the pressure to hold over when I'm not performing well increase? >>>they always want you to hold. So what. You hold if it's good and the customers are coming. Set a $ number and if it hits, you hold. Always think about splitting. Holding 300? Bring in TMNT for matinees. TMNT opened big? Hold it for matinees only. Etc. Etc.

What other advertising for showtimes do you employ other then your marquee, your website and your phone message? >>> 10 newspapers? if you are in a small town in a small county what the heck do you need 10 papers for? Pick the top 1-2-3 and call it good. Stand in the lobby and make people sign up for the e mail!

Do you generally pay substantially higher terms (I currently pay 35% almost always unless it's a big hit and my 90/10 kick in)? First run is always higher +/- 53& ag over the year.

Will we all be doing it this way when digital comes along anyway? WTF? WTHK? RUKM? figure those out


Why do I feel like ten years from now I'll still be a newbie in this business? You will be.

The single pronblem I have is uif you are playing 6 week old stuff you can split that very often. You need a more fluid approach and booking on Monday is always the way to go. IMHO. Except if it works better the other way. Heh heh.



Michael Hurley
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Michael Hurley
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 25 Apr 2007 00:17 #20794

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Call me old fashioned, which of course I am, but I WILL NOT book on Monday for Friday.

And the reason is... all those that were already given. Advance advertising is the main reason. When people come to my theatre this week, I want them to see the posters and trailer for the next Attraction coming next week. I also do a lot of birthday parties, and special school showings, so I need to know in advance for booking them as well, just as leeler seems to do.

As far as holdovers, if a picture warrants it, I hold. Many films will do more business the 2nd week then an average film will do on it's first week. I advertise in 4 weekly newspapers as well as one daily. Three of those weeklies are owned by the same company and I need only submit one ad for all three. The 4th is another ownership and requires another ad placement. All of those papers have a Friday 4 PM deadline the week before, EXCEPT for me. As a theatre owner, I argued many years ago about the unusual nature of our booking situation and convinced the papers to have a later copy deadline for theatres. Friday at 4 is still the space reservation deadline, but copy and art are not required until Tuesday, Yes TUESDAY, at noon for these Thursday papers. However, I almost always have the ads ready by noon on Monday.

Getting back to booking Monday for Friday. While some had mentioned that they actually do better grosses with Monday bookings, and an earlier availability due to it, I have found that NOT to be the case. I have one competitor not too far away that always books on Monday for Friday, while I book at least two weeks in advance. Due to that situation, he usually plays before me. However, even when I play after him, I still do twice as much business as he does, and I attribute that to the advance knowledge that local folks have to what we are both playing.
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 25 Apr 2007 20:53 #20795

  • rufusjack
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In my limited experience:

Knowing at least the Friday before is superior b/c you have that weekend to market the next movie(s). I would imagine as you get more screens that benefit would diminish to almost nothing.

Leeler since you are moveover most of the time, you should have a good deal of info. about how a movie will do by booking the Friday before. Assuming that most movies you book will have played at least one if not two weekends.

I also agree with Mike about splitting screens as much as possible. Maybe will not help much during the weekdays but will on the weekends.

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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 26 Apr 2007 07:05 #20796

  • leeler
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Roxy, I was all settled in to book Monday for Friday until I read your post. Now I am re-confused. I am scared of giving up the birthday party and special shows that I've been getting. I am excited about getting movies earlier then I have been. However, I have many customers who say to "I don't mind waiting to see movies" and my take-home schedules fly out of the theater lobby like hotcakes.

Now here comes the hard part....deciding what to do.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 27 Apr 2007 18:25 #20797

  • Narrow Gauge
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Typically you would call me a Monday for Friday type of theater. However with some planning you can set yourself up with a little of both ways. For instance I am advertising already for next week: Spiderman, Dirty Dancing, Lucky You. If you show specialty film these can be booked well in advance. If I'm not sure what the next movie is I'll advertise coming soon on several different movies. With a certain amount of training and persistance your audience will catch on.
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Re: To Hold or Not to Hold. That is the Question..... 27 Apr 2007 20:52 #20798

  • leeler
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Hmmmm, this sounds like where I'm headed, I think. I still have weeks planned out ahead of me, so I may change my mind again, but I think this is probably the right thing to do. Thanks everyone for your help and patience on this.

On a side note, I'm considering a variation on a voting sytem for movies from my customers. How about something along the lines of one vote per e-mail address and that enrolls that e-mail into the newsletter program? Hopefully I can get more people signed up and start gradually moving away from newspaper advertising.

Congrats to you, Roxy, for talking your paper into extending the deadline for you. My weekly comes out on a Wednesday so I don't even have to ask, I know the answer will be no. Therefore, I'll make a nice generic newspaper ad which highlights the phone number and the e-mail address. If I ever DO know what I'm playing by the deadline I can go back to the current style of ad with the showtimes listed.
"What a crazy business"
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