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TOPIC: How Was Your Summer?

How Was Your Summer? 22 Aug 2002 11:41 #23441

  • poppajoe
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The kids are back in school or will be starting back soon. That means summer is just about over. So how'd you do? We had some pretty sticky summer days and got good traffic because we have a great AC system. On the whole I would say the we might have been just a little bit better last summer. We also seemed to have more tourists, that helped a little.
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Re: How Was Your Summer? 22 Aug 2002 16:22 #23442

  • Ken Layton
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This has been our best season on record at the Skyline drive-in Theater (Shelton,Wash.). Attendance is way up and we've had sellout crowds every weekend for the past 3 months!
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Re: How Was Your Summer? 22 Aug 2002 23:55 #23443

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I sat down tonight and took a good look at the books and this is what I found. Since I'm not first run, I only started my summer figures as of the memorial day weekend up to tonight. My admissions (tickets sold) are up 13%. My box office gross is up 19% due to a 50 cent increase in the adult ticket price since last year. Concession per capita is up 20 cents over last year with no price increases for concession items. Last year was also up from the previous year, so therefore this is the 2nd year in a row that we are increasing revenues.

However, prior to memorial day while we were ahead both in BO gross and concession gross over last year, ticket sales were actually down. All the increase in ticket sales has come this summer. When looking at the overall picture from Jan 1st through today while both BO and concession is well ahead of last year, actual ticket sales are only up slightly less then 1%. I certainly hope that the summer increase of 13% will hold for the rest of the year, but I doubt it will.

The most interesting aspect of this to me is the fact that this is the first time EVER that I raised my ticket price and haven't lost ticket sales. The ever so slight increase thus far for the year of under 1% is actually a major victory when considering that I had a price increase during that period and didn't lose anyone. In 1995 when I dropped the All Seats $1.00 policy which I had had for over 25 years, and went to All Seats $1.50 my attendence dropped 30% over the next year. Then in 1996 when I abandoned the All Seats one price policy all together and went with $2.50/$1.50 I lost another 25%. What happened in each case was that when I increased my ticket prices, the number of patrons fell to the extent that my yearly box office gross remained the same. Naturally with less ticket sales my concession business dropped dramatically.

One would question why I would not remain at the lower prices with more patrons and many more refreshment sales and therefore a much greater profit margin for each year. Believe me it was not an easy decision. The attitude and policies of the film distributors toward what they considered discount theatres is what forced the change. I had to play product much later, often just before video, and pay higher film terms as well. On top of that, blockbuster films often required a minimum of two or three weeks of playing time when the pictures were all but played out.

I don't think subrun or discount died due to the patrons, but was killed mostly by the distributors. If discounts could still open pictures the day after they left the first runs, play them for just a week, and pay only 35%, the patrons would still come and money would still be made. However, distribution will not allow that to happen.

I'm getting a bit off topic here, but it does represent the background reasons for my changes in business over the years. I'm glad that it is rising again now that we are entrenched at the higher prices with a moveover run. Isn't it funny how the present moveover run is exactly the run I had many years ago as a so called discount house before things began to change?

Believe it or not, even if we could go back to the old policies and make money at a $1.00 price, I doubt that I would do it. I really think that those prices are way to low for this day and age. People don't deserve that big of a break. I did like the All seats policy and my goal over the next several years is to get my price to All Seats $3.00 at all times. I know a lot of my seniors aren't going to like that, but that's just too bad. And besides, neither my theatre nor myself can take putting 3,000 to 6,000 patrons though our single screen house each week anymore. We are both just too old for that.

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited August 23, 2002).]
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Re: How Was Your Summer? 23 Aug 2002 14:56 #23444

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We are up 19% for the year to date, in admissions. We started charging $3.00 all seats all times in 1996. And it has been very successful. Even at $3.00 we were able to pick up the occasional first run deal. This year it was charge $5.00 for first run's that we wanted or forget them. We really did not think our customers would accept $5. But we took a deep breath and tried it with Ice Age in March. Much to our surprise our customers accepted it, without a problem at all. With the exception of a few complaining teenagers. So we now price our shows this way. Moveover prints over 45 days from initial release. All Seats All Shows $3.00 First Run and moveovers less than 30 - 45 days old, adults $5.00 after 6PM all others $3.00
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