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TOPIC: When Will They Ever Learn?

When Will They Ever Learn? 24 Feb 2003 23:59 #23833

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Does any one recall that the theatre industry went through a rather severe reorganization some time back? Of course you do, as I'm talking about the one that just occurred during the past several years when most of the national chains filed chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Did I not read that overbuilding was the culprit that brought this about? In less then ten years the industry swelled from 25,000 to over 37,000 screens. The experts said that the industry needed to shed 10,000 screens to get back to a healthy status. Thus far, and with all the companies now out of bankruptcy, we have lost about 2,500 screens. Of course more were closed by those major players, but many of them were reopened by independents as sub runs, art houses, and some as first runs again. It doesn't seem as though we will ever get any where close to the 27,000 screen figure that every one was talking about. In fact, if you read the trade press, the majors are opening theatres at a steady pace again. I checked though the local news listings in Box Office magazine in just the Jan., Feb., and March issues and they had announcements for openings of around 300 screens. That was for three months. If that rate continues for the rest of the year, 1,200 new screens will open this year. In a little over two years we will be back up to where we were before the whole mess started. I thought that this would happen. I didn't think for a moment that the majors would stop building new plexes, they just needed to shed their obsolete ones.

I truly believe that within another five years we will see another round of bankruptcies. Sure we are injoying better times at present, or at least we did this past year, but this industry always runs in cycles. A downturn will come again, and they will get caught once again with there pants down. What will they shed next time?
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Re: When Will They Ever Learn? 26 Feb 2003 23:55 #23834

  • BurneyFalls
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"What will they shed next time?"

Please let there be another glut of almost new equipment.

I wish I knew how those giants continue to get funding with their poor financial track records.
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Re: When Will They Ever Learn? 27 Feb 2003 16:31 #23835

  • revrobor
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The corporate "stay in the office" big boys are never going to learn. About the only thing they seem to know about a theatre is that it has a screen bigger than a TV. They seem to have a philosophy that says "more screens is better" and they put all those screens in the larger metro areas, ignoring small town and rural America. But that's OK as they will "over-screen" those areas once again and be back in bankruptsy court. In the meantime, I will be concentrating on developing small town and rural America.

But too many screens is not their only problem. Most of their plexes are staffed with people who don't seem to care about customer service and have little knowledge about projection headed by a GM or manager who has been brought in from elsewhere and doesn't even know the community.

So let 'em go, it'll mean more business for us independents (if they don't drive people away from the theatre experience first).



Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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