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TOPIC: We've been reported.....

We've been reported..... 01 Feb 2005 09:49 #24792

  • Mudbrother
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Hi all,

An interesting incident happened to us yesterday. We'd booked Finding Neverland for two weeks, and Friday (the 28th) was the start of our second week run. Yesterday, Monday, we receive a call from our booker asking if we'd like to book Neverland for another week, BECAUSE a 'nearby theatre' had reported to the studio that we were in fact running the film for only one week, despite our contract (we had to take it for two weeks as a condition.) Now, this is most certainly untrue (we'll have newspaper ads, box office receipts, staff and audience witnesses that we've run for two.) My question is, has anyone else experienced something of this nature? Our nearest competitor is a mall-based 11-plex Regal, about 6 miles away. We're a downtown college-based historic theatre, single screen, showing mostly artsy stuff. Usually, we're not in direct competition with the mall, but they finally opened "Neverland" on the weekend we were starting our second week. We've been doing amazing business with it, and I have a feeling we stole their thunder on this movie... this may have prompted the action. I'm just curious how common this kind of backstabbing is, and is it any real threat if we're an honest theatre?

Comments would be appreciated!
Rance
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Re: We've been reported..... 01 Feb 2005 10:55 #24793

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Rance,

This kind of backstabbing is indeed the norm in this business. I've seen less of it in recent years, but it still happens. In the past it happened more among the many independents, back when there were many, then from the big chains.

As my former business partner would always say: "Exhibitors worst enemies are always themselves". One theatre owner would request to bend the rules a bit and get turned down from the distributor. Six months later he would see the guy in the next town do just what he had wanted to do, and turn him in to get even. Had he not reported him, and just done the same thing the next time, a change may have occurred within the industry, at least within that branch territory. If no one else reported it, that policy may have gone on for so long that it became accepted, or at the very least unnoticed by the distributors.

If you have followed the contract to the letter, you have nothing to be fearful of. As long as you send in the box office statement and the money, there should be no problem. If any questions come back suggesting that you didn't run the film and are making up a gross and paying on that, you have as you stated, the newspaper ads and the advertising bill. That should put it to rest. I have never seen a challenge go further then that.

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited February 02, 2005).]
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Re: We've been reported..... 01 Feb 2005 11:02 #24794

  • Ken Layton
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I agree, hang on to those newspaper ads as they are your proof. In fact, have your booker call your theater's showtime phone number right now and listen to your announcement of that movie.
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Re: We've been reported..... 01 Feb 2005 11:53 #24795

  • rodeojack
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Guess I'm confused. If you opened the picture on the break, under a 2-week minimum deal (a fairly normal situation), why would the studio be asking you if you wanted to book that second week. Almost sounds like confusion at their end, too. If they had any question about whether you were actually showing their print, seems they'd be demanding to see your daily groses & performance times, which... as others have said here, would certainly clear up the situation.

How did the "snitches" get the idea you weren't playing the second week?

We had to be pretty careful at the indoor I used to have. "Average" films frequently ran out of steam before the 2-week initial commitment ran out. However, it was rare that we could stack our screens because the studios wouldn't allow it & we were cautioned that our "big chain" neighbors were keeping a pretty close eye on us.

... maybe an off-handed compliment, I guess???
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Re: We've been reported..... 01 Feb 2005 21:42 #24796

  • muviebuf
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In my experience Regal seems to watch and get their dander up. AMC, Carmike and most of the other big names don't seem to care who does what.
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Re: We've been reported..... 01 Feb 2005 22:04 #24797

  • Mike Spaeth
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The Studio authorizes shipping of the print - how would they not know what date they booked you with?
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Re: We've been reported..... 02 Feb 2005 08:43 #24798

  • Mudbrother
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Thank you all for the responses. We didn't open Neverland on the break, but only on the 24th of January. (We're a second run.) And I think the studio was accusing us of running some other print besides Neverland for the second week (or the other theatre was accusing us.) I don't think there was any question on the booking. We booked the print for two weeks, and we've shown it for two weeks. The studio (or perhaps our booker) was asking us to show it another week to appease the studio. Even though it's doing well, there's no way we're going to do that as we open "House of Flying Daggers" on Friday. Our advertising for it has already run, and we have alot of people looking forward to it. Muviebuf, I think you've probably confirmed that it's the Regal 11 that 'mistakenly' reported us.

Yeah, I guess it is a backhanded compliment that they did this. Never would've imagined a single second-run house could make a multiplex flinch.


Rance
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Re: We've been reported..... 02 Feb 2005 10:33 #24799

  • jimor
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Quote: "Never would've imagined a single second-run house could make a multiplex flinch."

Never underestimate the greed of the chains/conglomerates! As the old saying goes, 'It's every man for himself these days, and the Devil take the hindmost!'If 'anything goes' in sports, as it does these days, why should it be different among competitors in business?
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: We've been reported..... 19 Feb 2005 19:34 #24800

  • MovieGuy
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We've had our local competitors main office try all kinds of dirty work to get prints from us, or block bookings to us. AMC, Carmike, and a little company named NovaCinema (aka NovaCine Tech, Theatre Service of IL, ShowPro...the list goes on) They play dirty pool all the time. Their local managed cinema (they lease, not own anything) is probably the worse run theatre in the state. At one time, when they couldn't get our grosses, they would pay a theatre employee to come see a movie at our location on opening night, just to get a head count. This would go on all weekend.
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Re: We've been reported..... 20 Feb 2005 01:31 #24801

  • BurneyFalls
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I used to send an employee or friend over to my competitor's place (mine now) occasionally or I would just drive over there myself and count cars just to estimate how many people they had. I don't think that is "dirty work."

[This message has been edited by BurneyFalls (edited February 20, 2005).]
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Re: We've been reported..... 21 Feb 2005 18:15 #24802

  • MovieGuy
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BurneyFalls: It might not be "dirty", but at least send a concession worker that can count over 10!!!
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