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Reviving an old theater 29 Jul 2013 14:41 #40162

  • KatieWI
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I'm looking for information on reopening an old theater in my small community in Northern WI. It's been closed for abotu 7-8 years. The building is over 100 years old and was originally the silent movie house. The basic goal is open it for the community and break even on costs. The projector is would need to be updated to digital and I don't have any idea where to start for companies, costs, etc. for equipment, supplies or even film brokers. I want to get some information on all the costs before even bidding on property.

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Reviving an old theater 29 Jul 2013 21:56 #40163

  • Bob Nash
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This question has been asked many times on this forum. The basic information is here.
That said, a antique theater building that has sat empty for seven to eight years is worthless from a dollar perspective.
If it hasn't been snatched up for a flea market or other repurposing, it just isn't worth much more than the land it stands on.
You are going to spend fifty or sixty thousand dollars, at the least, on the digital equipment.
An old theater building with power intact for a 35 mm set up won't always be ready, electrically, for a digital projector.
The old booths were not usually air conditioned. Digital booths must remain cool.
Are there seats? Plumbing? Operating restrooms? Are you grandfathered in regarding restrooms and the number of stalls and sinks?
Are there good wall coverings?
The local Pepsi or Coke bottler will provide a fountain machine. Do you have the popcorn machine? Ticket machine? (With a single screen you might be able to stay with paper tickets, though that hurts presales.)
Bookers and equipment vendors are on this site. Find out about your building before bothering any of them. Be prepared to spend some money for some site surveys.
That said, good luck.
Bob Nash
Last Edit: 29 Jul 2013 21:56 by Bob Nash.
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Reviving an old theater 30 Jul 2013 03:40 #40164

  • revrobor
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Bob gave you some good advise. I happen to be one of those who believe a small single-screener can be very successful in a small town, especially if it is programmed to serve the community. For equipment information there are two outfits I would recommend: American Cinema Equipment, (tell Scott Hicks I recommended him) and International Cinema Equipment, They can help you with everything you need for the theatre. For film booking I would recommend Frank Rash 402-223-5119. Let him know I sent you. If I can be of any further assistance feel free to pm or email me. I want to see you succeed.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Last Edit: 30 Jul 2013 03:41 by revrobor.
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