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TOPIC: two booking philosophies

Re:two booking philosophies 01 Dec 2008 22:27 #30449

  • slapintheface
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My question is why would you wait????/
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Re:two booking philosophies 02 Dec 2008 00:49 #30450

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I play most product 6 to 8 weeks after national release. Once in a while on the 4th or 5th week, but not very often. Many films are 9 or 10 weeks old or older. Anything really good from Warner Bros. can be much older. I finally got to play Dark Knight in November when it was finally released for national subrun. That was 5 months. Ridicules! Only did about $2,500 for the week. Terrible gross for this house. And to make matters worse, had to pay 40%.

Of course, I'm not in a non-competitive market by any means. I have 6 large plexes in my market area, 2 other single screen subruns, 3 first run drive-in screens, and 2 single screen first runs. About a hundred screens in all. I'm a $3.00 house and they aren't going to let me play with those first run houses, so I must wait.

However, having said all that, none of that seems to effect my business. I outgross every subrun theatre in Pennsylvania and many first runs as well. In fact there are many smaller (3 to 5 screen first runs) that don't gross as much on all their screens combined as I do on my one.

Now why is that, one might ask? It is the general belief that the movie is the thing, and the only thing. If you have the hot movie, they will come. Yes, if you are the only one with the hot movie, and your place isn't a dump, they will come. But, if you have competitors within 10 to 20 miles of your theatre, and they offer a more pleasing theatre going experience they will go there. Also, if you have a nice theatre and good presentation, but no one knows you exist... they won't be coming either. Proper advertising and promotion is essential. I know of several theatres that are very nice and do no business. When talking to people and I bring them up, I hear comments like: "Oh, are they still open?" or "I throught they closed years ago"

Obviously there is a point when films are too old...Warner product is a good example. But for the most part, even in my extremely competitive area 6 to 8 weeks is no problem. My patrons will wait.

I was asked to speak to a seniors class at our community college last week about the 75 year anniversary of my theatre, and how we managed to get to that point. At the conclusion, there was a question and answer period. One question asked was: "Why has the Roxy outlasted all the other single screen small town theatres in our area, and why is it still so successful, when the others were not?" I started to explain about all the little things from admission price, usher uniforms, stage curtains, specialized lighting procedures, advertising and promotion... and I noticed a woman franticly waving her hand. I paused and said... you have a comment? Yes, she said. I think most people still go there, because when you go there you feel like you're going to the theatre, not just to the movies.

nuff said.
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Re:two booking philosophies 02 Dec 2008 10:01 #30451

  • Mike
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Roxy said it and it captures the essence of a key feature of movie going: the show starts on the sidewalk. It also ends on the sidewalk. And every minute in between. Is the temperature right? Are the bathrooms clean? Are the staff friendly and helpful. Are all the little details that go into creating atmosphere that stroke our inner dna cared for intuitively? There is more going on in a movie theatre than movies.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re:two booking philosophies 03 Dec 2008 16:55 #30457

  • jacker5
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Mike,

You hit it on the head. Short and sweet. Without being longwinded you said everything in your reply. If everyone would go by this it would be a pleasurable experience!
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Re:two booking philosophies 04 Dec 2008 09:14 #30463

  • leeler
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I guess I'm going to go for it once the Christmas movies are behind me. It will be a big change and it'll be frustrating at times, too. Hopefully it'll lead to more butts in the seats, though.
"What a crazy business"
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Re:two booking philosophies 04 Dec 2008 11:45 #30469

  • rodeojack
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the show starts on the sidewalk. It also ends on the sidewalk. And every minute in between.

Well-put, Mike. It certainly is how we try to do it here.

Being a drive-in, our booking might be somewhat different, mainly because we move between tiers, depending on the time of year. When we open, we run weekends only, and the crowds aren't as large as they are during the Summer. We can get some films on the break, but we usually pick them up 2-weeks out (or so), to keep costs in line. When school lets out, this place is an entirely different animal, and everything is first run. After Labor Day, we start pulling back, and our season's done at the end of September.

Being a double-feature operation, getting combos put together at reasonable percentages is probably our main booking challenge.
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