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TOPIC: 1st run vs Calender

1st run vs Calender 11 Nov 2010 17:15 #34862

  • penvid
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I am new to the movie theater biz, 17 months with a small town newer 2 screen theater.
My booking agent pushes 1st run as best he can, we often think we're getting a film and having it pulled on the Monday before the Friday release. We often get films 3 and 4 weeks after the break.
Our regulars tend to be older folks and families, though we have been building on the few art films recently (Girl Dragon Tattoo, Get Low) which tend to be older and don't buy as much concessions.
Right now we have Megamind opening day and Red after 3 weeks. Last weekend we did almost as well with Red.
I've been informed a calender type movie house is getting movies a few weeks after release, advertising with a calender so people know when they are coming, doing more "special" films (classic night, family/kid Sat morning events), possibly charging less.
Does anyone do this? I suspect a lower overhead is needed to do this unless one can make it up with volume. We can't make a 3rd week on a new title profitable in our small town. We are 10 miles from a 10 plex chain now with 3D. The nearest "art house" is 20 plus miles away.
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Re:1st run vs Calender 11 Nov 2010 23:12 #34869

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First of all survey your community to determine what they want. You can do this in the local paper, by direct mail (offering free popcorn for replies) or with in-theatre hand-outs. Or try showing what the competition is not. Simply because a film is newly released does not mean ALL movie-goers want to see it. Develop a reputation as a classic, independent, foreign, inspirational house. A calendar is an excellent idea. The can be picked up at the theatre or direct mailed on a bulk mail permit. The idea is to be different than the competition. Undercut the competition's admission and concession prices (while expanding your offerings).
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re:1st run vs Calender 12 Nov 2010 23:58 #34880

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Thank you revrobor,
I have very nice digital HD projectors along with my 35 mm and have shown a few older films that way. i think i could offer multiple titles (stack) and cut my average percentage cost down. So far my main customers are older and supportive, waiting to see films at my theater if they know I am bringing them in.
I already am a little cheaper than the other theaters. i think i could offer different concessions too that may go better with the "art" film audience.
Does anyone run a calender type theater?
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Re:1st run vs Calender 13 Nov 2010 15:02 #34881

  • leeler
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My theater is what you'd consider a calendar type theater, I think. We are a single screen in a small town and get movies three weeks after the break to six or more sometimes. We do open movies on their release date (I'm currently playing Megamind and Harry Potter 7 starts next week) and we've done eight so far this year. I don't do a "calendar" per se because I can't book that far in advance but I do try to let people know what I'm playing next week when they come here and an idea of the movies coming after that.
"What a crazy business"
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Re:1st run vs Calender 01 Dec 2010 20:04 #34935

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It seems my booking agent doesn't want me to do a "calender" theater. We are showing Harry Potter 7 AND Tangled now and doing well, but 3 out of 4 films are 3 weeks old. Been told it usually means 4 or 5 week old to feel "secure' about advertising in a calender format but if I knew a month ahead my main patrons would love it. I'd even lower ticket prices a bit.
The occasional 1st run would be doable but not knowing when it can go, 3 weeks or 4 could hurt it a bit.
I feel like a second run half the time as it is, just want to make the most out of it.
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