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TOPIC: Help, Please!

Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 15:07 #38318

  • snow4all
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I am a newbie here and I have already spent several hours looking through posts and I have found a lot of the information that I need, but some of it still eludes me. I am at my 3rd day on the job in the office of a dying mall with relatively new owners and I have been tasked with researching information to find out how much it will cost to get the 5 screen theater back up and running that Cinemark shut down about 8 years ago. When they left they stripped the building of pretty much everything. I have managed theaters for AMC, Loew's and Cinemark, so I am very familiar with theater operations, but I have never helped open a theater. I cannot find information on pricing for movie screens and sound folds. Can you point me to where I need to go on this, please? I am also technologically handicapped when it comes to the sound system (that was my one weakness when managing the theaters). The Mall owner wants to go with 35mm projectors (I told him that soon we may not be able to get 35mm prints, but he wants to get the theater up and running as quickly as possible as cheaply as possible). What kind of sound equipment and speakers do I need and where can I go to get pricing on this? Thank you so much for your help!
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Re: Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 15:19 #38319

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You were wise to pass along your concerns to the owners. Depending on the type of operation, its grossing history and location, theatres are beginning to have problems with 35mm booking right now. As your theatre would be starting from scratch, your lack of history might be a real problem for you.

My personal opinion is that the owners would never come close to getting their money back on the equipment investment, and would be faced with either converting or closing back up within the next year or so at most... something they probably should have done in the first place, if they were really serious about a successful business.

You're starting your theatre off on a pathway with a very limited future. You might be wise to consider your position with the company, if this is the way they insist on restarting their operation.

However, if you and your employer are determined to continue on this path, you should contact a theatre supply company in your area. The issues you bring up and your lack of experience can not be resolved on a forum like this. You're going to need some hands-on help from people who have actually done this before.

Good luck!
Last Edit: 24 Apr 2012 15:22 by rodeojack.
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Re: Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 15:54 #38321

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Thank you for your input. I have the same concerns. However, right now I am just looking for names of movie screen and sound fold suppliers as well as maybe help with sound equipment.
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Re: Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 16:24 #38322

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OK. Well, you're still probably best off contacting a theatre supply / service company in your general area. Equipment and drapery manufacturers generally sell through these operations anyway, and the same companies can help you decide what equipment would be best for your auditoriums.

There are too many details about your building that are not known here, so there's no way to discuss what might work for you. Beyond that, a forum like this is filled with the varied experiences of people who all have their own opinions. As you don't have the means to evaluate our advice, you would be best served by someone who can actually walk into your building and work up a range of options that they can explain and negotiate with you and your owners.

Many factors have to be considered when equipping a theatre... even minimally, which illustrates why you probably won't get the answers you're looking for here. As your place was stripped, you'll have to deal with screen size and throw, which will drive lamphouse, lens and aperture choices. Your auditorium size(s) and acoustics will affect speaker, amplifier and equalization choices.

Once installed, someone will have to adjust the equipment on-site for level, equalization and delay. The projectors will need adjusting for illumination and coverage. Apertures will have to be individually cut and anamorphic lenses adjusted for each screen.

Even your soundfold needs come with fire department requirements, which you should know about locally before making a purchase choice. It would be a real shame to get the point of opening, only to be delayed because the local fire marshall doesn't like the specifications of the material you installed.
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Re: Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 17:55 #38323

  • revrobor
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There is a flood of good used 35mm equipment out there that will last for many years (but which will be replaced by digital before then). God to www.iceco.com for an equipment quote.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 20:03 #38324

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Thank you again! I remember enough about my time in the theater industry to know that I would need to get outside help with all the technical aspects once we actually began working on the theater. My boss just wanted me to gather some estimations for right now. If this comes to fruition, I have my work cut out for me and I have a feeling that I will be learning a lot more about the theater industry.
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Re: Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 20:04 #38325

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Thank you rev for your info!
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Re: Help, Please! 24 Apr 2012 23:10 #38326

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I have projectors and platters from when I went digital last year. PM me if you're interested. I'll let it go CHEAP!
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"What a crazy business"
Last Edit: 25 Apr 2012 15:25 by leeler.
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Re: Help, Please! 25 Apr 2012 14:33 #38327

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What state or 3-4 state area are you in?

How close is your competition?

How big is your population with 15 mins assuming your town is a destination town for many shoppers?

You and your boss should go in this project with as much skepticism as possible. This has not been a strange bad luck that this theater has been empty for so long. the better route would be to offer free rent for 6 mos and really cheap rent after hat and let someone else take the risk.

I would not even mess with film projectors because odds are that they will only be useful for 6 months.
.
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Re: Help, Please! 25 Apr 2012 15:54 #38328

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@leeler: Thanks! Still in the planning stage, but I will let my boss know. He might be interested. How many do you have? We have 5 auditoriums.
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Re: Help, Please! 25 Apr 2012 16:02 #38329

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@rufusjack: We are in north Texas. There is a Cinemark 12 screen nearby. This building used to be a Cinemark. Cinemark demolished the dollar theater they had here last year, and so we were thinking of making this theater a dollar theater so that we would not be in competition with the other theater in town. I believe that a dollar theater would do really well here. The building that Cinemark demolished last year was really old and in a bad location.
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Re: Help, Please! 25 Apr 2012 20:21 #38332

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we have six projectors with sound processors & amps, two platters plus make-up tables, splicers, filmguard, film cleaners, rings, large reels, etc etc etc. I'll let the whole lot go for $2K. Even if you only use it six months it's a good deal. Just bring a truck and an extra set of hands or two and I'll help you load it up.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Help, Please! 27 Apr 2012 18:04 #38334

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@leeler: That sounds like a good deal. Where are you located? Forgive my ignorance,so is what you have everything I would need to get at least 2 screens up and running? What brand are the projectors?
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Re: Help, Please! 27 Apr 2012 19:13 #38335

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I do not understand why you would want to go out and start a theater from scratch and NOT include digital. Any projector,processor or amp being sold/given away right now would probably have to be replaced in a year. That is why it is being replaced right now and available for next to free.

You are still looking at at least a $100k to get going and the best you can hope for is a cheap clean place for people to come to for probably a year of operation until you have to pretty start your booth all over again.

Is your boss hoping to find someone to then take it over? Why has not someone done this project already??
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Re: Help, Please! 27 Apr 2012 23:21 #38336

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We are in southwest Wisconsin. We have six Century projectors and sold all but two of the platters so you could do two screens easily and you can sometimes get away with having a platter do double duty on more then one projector. I've seen it done. You should be able to get three more platters pretty cheap if you want to, though. I think it's a good idea to keep the mall alive by bringing the theater back, even if all it ever does is break even. Just make sure it'll break even, though. there is nothing wrong with the sound equipment we are selling but it is older and wasn't up to snuff for my liking. It's basically front/rear sound which is fine but it is not 5.1 sound. Snow4all, why don't you PM me for details if you're serious about it.
"What a crazy business"
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