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TOPIC: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide?

500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 02 Sep 2007 16:09 #29466

I own a single screen 500 seat house in NJ. It was built in 1928. How difficult and expensive would it be to put a wall down the center and turn it into a twin? Lastly, is it worth it? Two sets of projectors, sound equipment etc...
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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 02 Sep 2007 20:13 #29467

  • jacker5
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The more screens the better. Any way maybe turning into 3 screens? 150, 150, 100.
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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 02 Sep 2007 22:14 #29468

  • slapintheface
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I s there a balcony???
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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 02 Sep 2007 22:24 #29469

  • RoxyVaudeville
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It depends on your policy.

Are you first run, art or subrun? If first run or art, the more screens the better. If subrun, I think the best number of screens is one, yes 1, numeral uno. If you are a newer theatre, and my definition of newer is having been built after 1950, then regardless of your policy, more screens is probably better as you will probably have nothing to offer other then the pictures you exhibit. As the theatre IS an old one built in 1928, the ambiance of the older theatre could go a long way in making your theatre something special, but twinning it would ruin that possibility.

I own a 557 seat single that opened in 1933, and I book a number of other old singles screens as well. I also book several twin and triplex houses. The multiscreen houses for the most part gross less for all screens combined then the singles do. If you have a single screen subrun you should know that there are often times when it is difficult to find even one good picture to fill that screen. What would you put on that other screen that will pay its way?

As you are in New Jersey and I'm in eastern Pennsylvania, maybe you should come and visit my theatre and see just what you can do with a single screen.

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited September 02, 2007).]
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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 03 Sep 2007 13:46 #29470

  • revrobor
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IMO you'd be better off offering the movie-going public something it isn't getting at the curtain-less cinder block boxes called multiplexes - the theatre ambiance. I'd encourage you to restore your theatre to it's "glory days" remaining a single screen and playing product the 'plexes are not. Make certain you have the best sound system you can afford and that your projection equipment is in the best condition so you can offer the public a flawless screen performance - something one seldom gets at a multiplex.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 04 Sep 2007 16:49 #29471

  • tratcliff
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I totally agree with those who say leave it as a single screen.
I own a circa 1938 theatre. It was twinned in 1978, but luckily it was done with via the enclosing of the balcony, leaving the main floor basically the same.

BY FAR my biggest drawing card is the history and "feeling" of the old theatre, NOT that I have two screens.

I am a move-over theatre. The 6-plex in town keeps movies for 4-6 weeks before I get them, which isn't to bad.

I do not fill my 2nd screen very often, so I can't imagine in today's dollars, you could justify the cost of twinning a single screener, esp one that is that old and with that much history to be lost or covered up.
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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 04 Sep 2007 16:52 #29472

  • tratcliff
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Sorry! Duplicate post.

[This message has been edited by tratcliff (edited September 06, 2007).]
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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 05 Sep 2007 10:13 #29473

  • Avco
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Here is the Forum Theatre in Metuchen, NJ info from CinemaTreasure's site.
http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7105/

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Re: 500 Seat House To divide or not to divide? 25 Oct 2007 21:06 #29474

  • Narrow Gauge
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I was always a purist in keeping an historic single screen original. However does the small community I'm operating in warrant a 500 seat auditorium. Too many days 25 seats would suffice. As I look to this winter and $3 a gallon oil and soaring electrical costs I have to wonder. Ultimately most of these beautiful old buildings do not make it as single screen cinemas because of the high fixed costs and the way the industry economics work. It is very difficult to make all the numbers work. I know for sure that I will only be able to be run the main auditorium weekends only this winter.
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