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TOPIC: Tentative Independant Theatre Venture

Tentative Independant Theatre Venture 01 Mar 2005 21:28 #28800

  • CAlexander
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I am brand new to this forum and I'm just looking for some general input and advice. I'm currently putting together some numbers for the creation of an Independant theatre in a nearby town. It is an extremely nice, popular, artsy community that gets a great deal of seasonal traffic. There is a large arts college in the middle of the city, and the idea of an artistic Cinema/Coffee House just 'fits' with the community very well.

There is another Independant theatre in the area, but it is about 40 miles away and is in an extremely bad urban neighborhood, so I don't feel competation will be a problem.

So what I am really asking for is advice. I'm putting together a package and crunching numbers, and I'll shortly begin talking to a few people in the city and potential investors. Where should I go from here? My initial thought is to scope out potential buildings. My worry is that it is a popular city and there may not be any appropriate buildings. How realistic is building something from the ground up? From my research into others doing similar operations I see that it tends to result in 1 or 2 screen theatres, whereas I would ideally have 5 or 6. Is that unreasonable?

There are hundreds of details I would love to go into now, but first and foremost I'm looking for a starting point and initial advice from everyone here who clearly has much more experience than I. To finish, and give you a clear picture of what I have in mind, I have in mind a medium theatre playing mostly independant and foreign films, accompanied by a decent sized lounge that would include a coffee/wine bar (the latter of which, liquer licensing, is an entirely different question) in order to provide a 'discussion area' for patrons to relax in after thier experience. It would be a perfect place to display local art from the nearby college, sell local pastries, etc. So that provides a rather clear image of what I feel is ideal. Any help, suggestions, or simply comments from any here would be more than welcome. Thanks!

Connor R. Alexander

[This message has been edited by CAlexander (edited March 01, 2005).]
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Re: Tentative Independant Theatre Venture 05 Mar 2005 01:50 #28801

  • jimor
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Well, Connor, I think the reason that the more seasoned of the pros here have not jumped into this post is because elements of it have already been discussed elsewhere here on the Forum, the archives of which you must read. It is kind of like school: lots of book reading to get to pass the test.

Additionally, no one wants to state the obvious: If you have a lot of investor money, then what you invest doesn't matter if all of the investors can withstand the loss; if they can't, then this is a risky business indeed, especially since it looks like you will be starting from the ground up literally. Definitely, the more screens the better, but they all will cost, and if you have never written up a business plan before, then this may not be the ideal industry to start with unless, as I said, you have a lot of money that you can lose. You must calculate not only construction and other start-up costs, but also enough capital to carry you and the operation over for maybe five years before profitability.

We all love cinemas/theatres, and with the eatery and art gallery combined in the town you describe, it might go over well, but as with restaurants, it is Location, Location, Location. I would love the fun of dreaming up ways to decorate the place for atmosphere which is Showmanship, one of the principal things which will keep your in-the-know young audience coming. But, right now you have more weighty matters to consider such as local construction costs, building codes, civic cooperation, realistic forecast of profitability, operating expenes, etc. I wish I could help you with these, but that is for the guys on the business end of things. All I can say is Best Wishes on your dream; may it never turn into the nightmare others have experienced. Jim
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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