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TOPIC: Old Movies

Old Movies 01 Aug 2006 15:04 #25141

I'm looking to start a small theater in a small town. I would like to have 2 screens, one with newer releases and one with couches, tables and a different movie every showing. I'd like to show some cult classics for an informal audience but I'm not sure about licenses. Will it be different for every movie? Can I forget Star Wars and the Godfather?
Thanks
Shannon
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Re: Old Movies 02 Aug 2006 01:44 #25142

  • MovieGuy
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You would be better off opening a subshop! A small town will not support the type of films that you wish to run. Trust me, been there done it and paid the price. Nothing like booking PEE WEEs BIG ADVENTURE and having 4 patrons showing up for it. $425 for rental plus shipping charges. Thats one of a few classic titles we ran throughout the summer, and ate crow. Most customers would rather rent the dvd when it comes to seeing some of the classic film. I prefer to see it on the big screen.
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Re: Old Movies 16 Aug 2006 08:33 #25143

  • Big Guy
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We did 100% FREE showings, once per month on a Saturday Morning. Lasted 4 months. The first one was "The Goonies". Over 200 people showed up, and we advertised the next one "The Grinch" (for December). About 40 people. January saw "Rudy" (in honor of the Superbowl). About 20 people. Then we did "The Princess Bride". About 20 people again. Concessions take could not cover rental and shipping, so we axed the idea. We weren't trying to make a huge profit off of the films, we were just trying to offer something unique, and hopefully cover the costs of getting the films. It was a real pity, too, as the people that were coming really enjoyed the events. We did some giveaways, everyone got a real ticket, and we received compliments from all that attended.

We also did a one week run of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" 3 years ago. Advertised it, did some cool giveaways via raffles at each show, etc. The 15 people that showed up all week enjoyed it, but it was a failure from a business standpoint.

We are trying to put something together for Halloween involving classic horror movies, but are leary of investing too much time or money into it due to the failures of similar endeavors in the past.

I can't imagine trying to run classic films on a regular basis and counting on them to keep the business afloat. They're nice to try once and a while, and you may attract some customers that wouldn't normally come to your theater, but it can't be the backbone to your business, imho.
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Re: Old Movies 16 Aug 2006 11:33 #25144

  • rodeojack
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With enthusiastic support from a couple of local groups, we ran "Rocky Horror" at one of our indoor houses. We turned people away for a couple of sessions... filled the place without turning people away for a few more. Eventually though, our crowds died out, too. A film like that is no fun with empty seats.

In the early '90s, another local theatre was the first here to go to $1 admits. The place was nuts for a month or so, then the crowd died out there, too. The manager said that the low admission price attracted a clientele you wouldn't want your teenage daughter alone with. That theatre closed soon after.

Old films and some "cult classics" are the fare of every cable and DVD shop you see. Going to watch them at a theatre might be a nice novelty, but basing a long-term business plan on that format might be worth a closer look.
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Re: Old Movies 16 Aug 2006 12:16 #25145

  • Cinemateer
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I don't know this for sure, but wouldn't it also help to show something that coincides with an event or date? Like showing Gone With The Wind on it's 50th Anniversary? I would think that this would be great advertising fodder for your local news media, too.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Old Movies 16 Aug 2006 13:42 #25146

  • Avco
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It is a true hit or miss with old movies. And the location sometimes plays a good part in the type of business. When I worked for Cineplex, the manager at the Odeon in Westwood, CA was planning to start a midnight show series on Sundays. It would not have any problems with the regular shows. During the first month it took off but the Union projectionist was not a very good one. I was assigned to another theatre when the business agent asked if I wanted to change theatres and work two doubles in Westwood with that midnight show. I said yes and spent the next 40 weeks on that job. We did great business on most of the titles. Note this was before the DVD market had started. And most titles were available only on VHS or Laser. But today a good majority of the good titles are now on the market which cuts into the old movie house business.
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Re: Old Movies 17 Aug 2006 14:24 #25147

  • Mike
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Pound for pound: I have more people ask or say they'd love to play/see the classic films: Bogart, cowboys, etc. etc. But: unless you are in a very deep populated area: fuggetaboutit. Without fail: older films/ no matter how great they are/ do not perform as well as the worst wide realese in demand pics. What people say and what they will come to are two different things.

Michael Hurley
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Michael Hurley
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