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TOPIC: Newbie needs help

Newbie needs help 21 Jun 2001 12:20 #22929

  • stantupper
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I have just been hired by a large old, but very buzy,shopping plaza to research the
feasibility of re-opening to plaza’s 220-seat movie theater after being closed for 4 years. We are a beach-front property in a very coastal resort town.
I know nothing about the industry, but need to learn ASAP. The theater is in good
condition, currently being very under-utilized by a local TV station as the studio for it’s only locally-produced 1/2 hour daily program.
I understand that there are other ways to go than film. Somebody mentioned satellite
linkage. I have also read the results of a poll here about going digital. Will someone
explain?

If film, I would guess that we would be best off using a booking agent at least at first.
Perhaps I could take that over after a year or so. Can somebody give me pros & cons,
and perhaps recommend a good one?

We are considering the possibility of turning the theatre into a Cinema Grill-type
operation, serving drinks and dinner. I recently went to an operation like that in
another resort community a couple of hundred miles away and was moderately impressed. There is a restaurant/pub right next door
in the same building (they rent the space from us- we own the entire plaza) that is
interested in providing the food and drinks. Would anybody comment?

Thanks, Stan
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Re: Newbie needs help 21 Jun 2001 15:37 #22930

  • Mike
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Stan was concerned that lest someone should think him not being as advertised so he sent me much personal and business info and Stan is sincere and speaks the truth.

Most of the questions Stan hasks have been discussed at length and can be found by a little diligent perusal of the archives and by resetting eact sections date so that you can look back at every subject.

The reason larger questions sometimes don't get answered is that the most experienced have already written great answers to many questions so rather than have them answer again and again it's better for readers and the needy to do a little research.

Then ask the specific finer pointy questions.

Digital? Fugettaboutit!

Booker: hire one now and learn to take over later.

Food: tricky but some make it work.

Can you do it? Sure!

Best/ Mike

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Newbie needs help 21 Jun 2001 19:40 #22931

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Mike,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I don't want you or anybody else to think I'm too lazy to search back postings - I've read each and every one of the 130 posts to "The Back Office", and am working on the 2140 posts to "The Lobby". I have been sitting here for the last 6 hours, with a 1/2 hour break for supper, reading mostly stuff that I didn't fully understand or that isn't relevant to my immediate needs (What to do with teenagers having sex on the floor down front, for example).

We are currently thinking in terms of second-run (or second second-run) movies, and occasional classics (everyone mentions "Gone With The Wind", but I think cult movies like "Easy Rider" and old beach blanket bingo flics starring Annette Funicello et al might play better to our audience.What I would like to do is rent this type of movie in such a way that I could rent 3 at a time, and alternate them so that each one played 1 night every third day for a month (we are a resort community, so there is a turnover of prospective customers every week), and then start again with 3 more films. (or 7 films, each once a week, for 2 - 3 months, and start over.) Is this possible? :confused

Stan

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Re: Newbie needs help 21 Jun 2001 19:47 #22932

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Amend last post -- I know it's possible, but is it practical? (and what happened to my confused smiley at the end?)
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Re: Newbie needs help 22 Jun 2001 09:33 #22933

Stan,

What type of competition do you have nearby? Is the theatre (I'm guessing it's a single screen since you listed it at 220 seats) the only game in town? I'm not asking the name of the town, just trying to get a feel for what you're up against.

I agree with Mike, stay away from digital. First of all, only selected features are being released on digital right now and the technology is still in it's infancy. Regardless of how many digital projectors you see advertised in the industry trade publications these days, the fact of the matter is that right now it still experimental. The standard for commercial presentation of feature films is still 35mm film projection. Although we may someday see digital projection become the norm, I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Depending upon the demographics of your market and how close your nearest competition may be, second run may work for you. If people have no place else to conveniently go to see a film during the short window between first run release and when it its released on video, you may do well. I'd be careful not to overdo the nostalgia route with old movies, however. While an occasional presentation of a Frankie and Annette movie or "Easy Rider" may draw customers, my observations have been that the average person won't go to a theatre and pay to see something that they can readily see on video or on television networks like American Movie Classics.

Have you considered also running independant films such as "art house" fare along with second run. If the weekly influx of new tourists includes educated types who appreciate more good story lines and fewer explosions you might also find a niche running that type of product along with the more mainstream features you intend to run.
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Re: Newbie needs help 22 Jun 2001 11:10 #22934

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Older films are often rented on a flat rental basis 100.00-150.00 to whatever so they do not care what you charge or how often you run it. One a day/ ten times a day/ once a week: who cares. But then you have shipping costs to bring in 3 vs. 1 film. If you are on a beach, check out other beach towns. There are often summer communities that are booked as a circuit. So the film that plays in one town tonight goes to the next town down the line for the next night, etc. etc. Find out who's doing the booking and join the party.

Most of what you're reading you won't understand until you start it up!

It's summer! Fire the baby up.

Does your city stay busy in the winter?
Michael Hurley
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Re: Newbie needs help 22 Jun 2001 11:43 #22935

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Starlight,

This is a ocean resort community in the Southeast, with a year-round population of about 35,000. Demographics are definitely upscale, with a higher than average number of wealthy retirees. This is a year-round resort area, although much busier in the summer months, with approximately 3 million people visiting over the course of the year, most of them staying for a week or more. Our complex is located across the street from the major, (and until recently the only)
public beach access. There are probably at least 10,000 hotel rooms, suites, condominiums, and short-term rental units within walking distance. We are at the heart of the tourist action, located at about mile 7 on a 12 mile long beach. There is a 5-plex theatre about a mile inland from us, which is currently running Tomb Raider, Atlantis, Shrek, Swordfish, and something else. About 8 miles away about a mile inland from the far north end of the beach (call that mile 0), there is a 10-plex that is also first run. We would be the only theatre on the island that any substantial number of people could actually walk to.

Stan
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