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TOPIC: New Seating or Digital Projection?

New Seating or Digital Projection? 21 Jun 2010 15:21 #34186

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Every year I take on one major project for my theatre. This year it has come down to either all new seats or digital projection. I'm curious as to what others would do, and why?

I’m leaning towards the new seats. I last reseated in 1989. They're getting lumpy and uncomfortable. They are also the original 32" back to back spacing which doesn't give much legroom. Back then I was a dollar theatre and I didn't want to lose seats, as we sold out several shows every week and that was with 557 seats. Now we charge $3.00 for all seats and seldom need more than 400 seats. Now it would behoove me to have less seats and more comfort, which of course will save me money in not having to buy as many seats. I'll increase the front half of the theatre to 36" and the back half to 40" and end up with 470 seats.

I think it will create an immediate gain for the theatre businesswise, as it will look nicer as well as be more comfortable. I’ll be refinishing the wood floor and re-carpeting the isles as well. It is something the patrons will both see and feel and talk about which should bring positive word of mouth.
Digital projection would be nice, and it will have to be done at some point, but I can’t see how it would make an immediate improvement in business which of course is needed to get a payback on the investment. Keep in mind that I’m a sub-run theatre charging only $3.00. Digital will not noticeably improve my picture, and 3D means absolutely nothing for improving my business, as my patrons come here for the most part because of the $3.00 price. They don’t want to pay more for 3D, and many have told me they could care less about it. In fact, some of my patrons have told me that they don’t like it, it gives them a headache, they hate wearing the glasses etc. etc. and that if I play a picture in 3D they wouldn’t come to see it.

It tends to put me between a rock and a hard place. I want to keep my theatre up to date, yet my patrons seem to want me not to in some situations, 3D being the best example.

I have always made it a policy to stand between the two sets of lobby doors as everyone exits each show. This way I can thank my patrons for coming and either receive their compliments or complaints as they leave. I’m proud to report that the compliments far outweigh the complaints. I never get complaints on projection or sound, but do get the occasional comment that the seats are getting a bit old. In fact while I do get comments such as “great show”, “we really enjoyed it”, “good movie” etc., most comments are about the theatre… “best theatre around”, “we love this theatre”, “don’t ever close it”, “please don’t ever change anything” and sometimes I even get “the picture wasn’t that good, but the theatre is fantastic”.

Now getting back to the seats, I’ve been talking to the folks at Dolphin Seating, a company that advertises in Box Office magazine. They have what looks like a very comfortable, good looking, and moderately priced seat that fits well in a sloped floor theatre... meaning the backs aren’t too high.

Has anyone had any experience with these seats, and if so would you recommend them or not, and why or why not?

I’m also interested in your opinions as to whether you would put seating or digital projection at the top of the list of things to do? The cost to do either are almost axactly the same.

Thanks for your imput.
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Re:New Seating or Digital Projection? 22 Jun 2010 00:29 #34191

  • Ken Layton
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Get the seats! You'll be very glad you did and so will the customers.
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Re:New Seating or Digital Projection? 22 Jun 2010 08:01 #34192

  • rufusjack
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It seems like you could be the last person who will need to go digital which could be at least 3 years if not 5 years from now. Plus digital equipment prices will come down. Seat prices will not.

However, quite disturbing no one has comments on dolphin here and little on FT as well.
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Re:New Seating or Digital Projection? 22 Jun 2010 19:00 #34194

  • trackfood
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Do the seats.... Your customers will immediately notice, and as already stated, you could be a few years away from digital conversion. Even in your original post you seem to be leaning toward the seats, go with your gut...
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Re:New Seating or Digital Projection? 22 Jun 2010 20:35 #34196

  • 4thGen
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Agree with rufusjack, be careful of those dolphin seats. I've stuck with American made Irwin seats and been very pleased with them. I have all three styles of their seats, Citation, Marquee, and Signature in my theatre and all have held up very well and had very little problem with them. The Signature seats are very comfortable. Greystone seats are also made in the US I think and I've heard good things about them.
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Re:New Seating or Digital Projection? 23 Jun 2010 23:56 #34199

  • slapintheface
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SEATS--SEATS
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