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TOPIC: outdoor/mobile theater concept

outdoor/mobile theater concept 10 Apr 2011 15:24 #35702

  • sae
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First, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this forum. I have been poring over your posts for the past few weeks and it has been incredibly helpful with my research!

I am very much a novice when it comes to the cinema business. I have a technical background in information technology (IT). Myself and a few folks where I work have discussed opening a theater for some time. We don't have any immediate plans to leave our paying jobs, so we talked about opening a small weekend operated indie (e.g. one-screen) theater in our downtown area of a mid-sized city. (~125K population) There are no existing theaters for sale, so we would have to lease an existing store front and convert it to a theater. The cost, of course, would be very high and we are not quite ready to make that plunge. We also aren't too sure what the demand will be for indie/arthouse first-run films in our community. The community does support many live music, performing arts, and visual arts venues, and the closest "arthouse" theater would be 20 miles away at a non-profit museum. We do have two large multi-plex theaters within 10 miles of downtown, but none of those theaters show indie films.

For the time being, we have abandoned the idea of leasing a building and incurring the debt required to renovate a commercial space. Our current discussions have revolved around the idea of obtaining audio/projector equipment needed to create a mobile theater that could be used at existing indoor/outdoor venues. The venues operators would then be responsible for promotion and ticket sales.

This, finally, brings me to my question(s): Does anyone here have experience --or opinions about-- operating an outdoor/mobile theater? Does an outdoor venue require special licensing from distributors?

We are looking at Emerging Pictures ( as a distributor. They have the "i-cinema" standard which seems to have less technology requirements than DCI and would significantly lower our equipment costs.

One last question: Does anyone show titles from Emerging Pictures?
Last Edit: 10 Apr 2011 15:27 by sae.
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Re: outdoor/mobile theater concept 18 Apr 2011 15:34 #35770

  • rodeojack
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As for the technical question: Yes, you can do outdoor/mobil. It's been done in a few locations on a commercial basis over the past few years, though I don't think any of them are currently operating. There are also several non-profits that set up "movies in the park" events now and then throughout the year.

Inflatable screens can be purchased. You can use FM radio for sound transmission or set up speakers around the screen. Beyond that, location & insurance would be factors, as well as getting set up with the studios.

In any case, if you get everything else worked out, a "portable" outdoor setup is certainly doable.
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Re: outdoor/mobile theater concept 18 Apr 2011 20:13 #35776

  • lionheart
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Finally saw your message. Check your PM.
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