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TOPIC: Why?!

Why?! 01 Jun 2006 12:40 #25095

I have a question for everyone:
If movie theaters don't make much money, why are you doing it? I have been looking around this forum for several days now, and love what everyone has to say.
We would love to open our OWN 2nd run theater in my hometown hundreds of miles away from where we live now, but have been told by local owners here in this town that it would never work.
We want to hold to our dream, but is it even possible?
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Re: Why?! 01 Jun 2006 14:49 #25096

  • Larry Thomas
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Movie biz is like a sexually transmitted disease. Once it's in your system, it's virtually impossible to get rid of.

I flipped for this biz when I was 5 years old (there were theatres in the family). After running, opening, and closing many theatres over the years (both indoor and drive-ins), and being a booker, and doing distribution, I guess the best way to explain it is...

If the question were put to me: "do you want another theatre?"

The answer is "hell, yeah!!"

LT
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Re: Why?! 01 Jun 2006 16:04 #25097

  • revrobor
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If you don't get suckered into running what everyone else has run all the time you may be able to make a go of it. There are plenty of films out there from all around the world. Learn your demographic and do your own promotion rather than just running what the distributors are promoting. Could your theatre run classics (you'll need a changeover system for this) or foreign or independent product?

Offer the public reasonable BO and snack prices and courteous, personal service.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Why?! 01 Jun 2006 16:17 #25098

My hometown has around 31,000 people. There is already a 1st run cinema there with 5 screens. I want to open a 2nd run with 3 screens. Will it work? Everyone I have mentioned it to in the town says that they would love it and say its about time the others owners had some competition.
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Re: Why?! 01 Jun 2006 18:39 #25099

In all honestly, 31000 with 5 screens doesn't sound VERY viable. Maybe slightly, but you should be prepared to lose your shirt.

Brandon, Manitoba has 39000 people and a 9 plex. The other theatre closed.

People can smile and be estatic that you want to build another theatre, but their words can be hollow.

I completely agree with Larry. I have loved this business since I was little (see one of my posts in the lobby where I describe what I loved about the business, even growing up in the years of the mall bunkerplex). However, I would completely be ready to do all the calculations before jumping into my first operation. If I can break even (with my salary paid), I'd probably be prepared to go ahead with it.


Since 1987
Since 1987
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Re: Why?! 02 Jun 2006 13:29 #25100

  • jimor
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Many folks who like movies come to a cinema and notice that there are very few employees to pay, customers who mostly take care of themselves by coming and going under their own volition while spending money along the way, and think to themselves: 'Hey, this is an EASY gold mine!'

Nothing could be farther from the truth! Read the many posts in all the Forums' Archives: the distributor and producer take something like 90% of the ticket proceeds; leaving the exhibitors trying to live off the candy stand sales! The distribs will try to work you into taking all the 'duds' along with the 2% that are blockbusters. You may find yourself there from opening at a matinee to closing in the wee hours of the morning, and you may not see your family for days. You are showing a product you cannot control and may not like to people you may wish you had never met, and all the while watch other entertainments eat into your bottom line while you try to pay a mortgage, many bills, and still have enough to feed your family and even get away now and then --but never on a holiday when you will have to work.

Still delerious about owning a little cinema, much less than a grand movie palace? Then Go For It!! Just be sure you have enough savings to live off of for at least three years before any profits show up --if they ever do. Best Wishes, Jim
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: Why?! 03 Jun 2006 00:29 #25101

  • Narrow Gauge
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Yikes
That sounded a little on the grim side-makes me want to sell my theater and travel the world.
In my location our annual average is 50 to 53% of our boxoffice gross for film rental. This been increasing a little bit each year for the last three or four years(no legs on the films anymore) I have never in nearly twenty years ever paid 90% box rental for a partcular movie -occasionally we hit 90/10 but very rarely.
Bottom line owning a theater is like owning any other small business-hard work long hours with the potential for decent money dependent on how good a job you do.
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Re: Why?! 03 Jun 2006 13:15 #25102

  • leeler
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I agree with Narrow Guage. I play film six weeks after the break or so and last year my BO% was 37%. I do almost everything myself and just have employees to give me a "weekend" on Tuesday and Wednesday. We do pretty well, I must say and business is still growing since we opened November of '03. I honestly don't know what we "should" be doing at this point but I average about 37% occupancy and that number keeps climbing. Is that good, bad, or so so?

"What a crazy business"
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