Banner
Home Forums Movie Theaters Cinema Design looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s

looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s 09 Jun 2011 15:59 #36436

  • ugotrey74
  • ugotrey74's Avatar
Good afternoon,

first time poster, long time lurker. For the past 15 years I've had the dream of opening a cinema/drafthouse type theater. I am currently living in a college town, population about 130k with two 8-10 screen first run multiplexes, a 6-screen second run house and a 2-screen arthouse. The multiplexes are about 4-5 miles away from my desired location and the arthouse is less than 1/2 mile.

I have a few questions that would be helpful to finalizing my business plan and moving forward.

The location we are looking at is an old warehouse, approximately 7,500 square feet with good street location and parking. What would the minimum height of the building need to be to house a single screen theater? We plan on making the lobby into a bar area where even if people aren't coming to see films, they can still come and drink so that will take up a good amount of space, in addition to adding a kitchen to serve food during screenings. We plan on starting with bar food and then hopefully bringing in a local chef to do upscale meals a few times a month if the audience wants it.

I'd like to show a mixture of first run, second run and cult classics on the single screen. Is that feasible with the amount of screens in town? will the multiplexes box me out of getting any first run features? Will the arthouse box me out of getting independent films? How much can I expect to pay for cult films? I had talked to the arthouse a few years ago about promoting a monthly film night but they were trying to charge me too much (I have 12 years experience as a concert promoter, so I know what expenses should be and where the house is padding...) to make it feasible.

After reading so many threads here, I'm sure we will go the digital route, but would like to get a platter system as well to show the older cult films that I can find prints of. I can't seem to find any listings from film bookers as to what films are available. I would love for the theater to be a mix of places like the New Beverly and the Alamo Drafthouse.

It's been a dream of mine for quite some time and I finally found some others who share my passion and am just looking for any additional advice I might be able to get from like minded people and people who've been down this road.

Thanks in advance!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s 10 Jun 2011 13:54 #36443

  • lionheart
  • lionheart's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 321
  • Thank you received: 6
  • Karma: 3
Seems like 26 screens for 130K population is pretty much maxed out already. They have enough first run, second run, and art houses without your theater. The only thing you might show that they might not is the cult classics. I would be concerned for you if you expect to build a business based on that. The drafthouse idea might help in a college town if none exists. The problem is that you will be competing with all the existing bars and clubs on that one. I remember as a college student, my friends and I always went to the places for beer that had the best prices, or maybe the coolest atmosphere, or the hottest girls. Clubs are places for socializing or dancing. Theaters are places to sit quietly and watch a film, I hope. There are successful drafthouses, so I know it can be done, but I'm not sure that college students will want to eat and drink there, unless your prices are cheap, or your food is awesome, or you have a hot movie noone else is playing. And then you may have problems with drunks, underage drinkers, etc. You may put your focus on food and limit number of drinks served, but as a college student I might have tried your place once for the novelty and gone back to the cheaper places.

I would think a successful drafthouse cinema would have to have very good food, a controlled environment with well-behaved customers, and probably a focus on the upscale market. In such a competitive city, you would have to do everything better than your competition. It wouldn't do to have good movies and just mediocre food. It also wouldn't do to have good food and mediocre movies.

Promoting concerts must be different than promoting a movie theater and the movie it is playing. For one thing, your promotional budget is probably much larger for concerts. For another, concerts are special events. Movie theaters have to draw people every day, not just once in a while. That is why first run theaters usually do better than the rest... because the studios have done all the advertising and promotion. It doesn't help that it is something people haven't seen before, either. They spend millions to gain public awareness and to try to build buzz. It might be easy to get someone's attention if you are different enough, but can you keep them coming back?

My 2 cents worth.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ugotrey74

Re: looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s 10 Jun 2011 16:10 #36444

  • ugotrey74
  • ugotrey74's Avatar
thank you for your valuable thoughts. it's interesting that you say concerts are special events. I agree wholeheartedly and want to make moviegoing into special events similar to what people would get from a concert. I aim to make it an experience you can't get watching a movie at a cold dreary multiplex or sitting at home. I know it's a stretch but it's always been a dream of mine and I literally have a notebook full of ideas of "event" type movie showings

As for the arthouse in town, it's a nice place, but it's a bit pretentious. The 2nd run house looks like it hasn't had a good cleaning since it opened. There is a film school at the college with a few hundred students and I'm sure with the right programming that could be a "regular" crowd I am hoping for. I know when I went to film school if there had been a good drafthouse in town I would have spent a lot of time there instead of watching laserdiscs in my apartment until 7am every night.

What about my other questions? The ceiling in the building we are looking at has a peak of about 18 feet - a projector room would need to be build. What can I expect to pay for a digital projector and also a 35mm projector so I can source those prints of classic and cult films, and what should I reasonably expect to pay for those films, and how many showings and how long will I be able to present them for? Is there a film booker in this forum I might talk to to get an idea of what I'd be looking at?

Thanks again for your hones answers, it is truly appreciated.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s 13 Jun 2011 14:55 #36467

  • fesfilms
  • fesfilms's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 0
Run science-fiction/horror trailers in the bar, or cartoons or 1950s TV commercials -- for ambience that can be watched or not while drinking. The sound can be low or off. Try Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin silent shorts in the same place, perhaps make every Thursday silent movie night. You only need an hour of film on DVD for 3 shorts, then repeat the show. Believe me, you will build a following quickly.

For your theater many classics, cult and camp films are public domain and inexpensive. You can't make a living by showing them too often, but they can augment other programming and make you really stand out as being different. Try Saturday Matinees.

I hope this will be seen as helpful rather than a spam ad if I suggest you visit my website:

www.fesfilms.com/cafe-roxy/shows/

Check out the Golden Turkeys programs.

-- Ron Hall
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s 13 Jun 2011 20:03 #36472

  • ugotrey74
  • ugotrey74's Avatar
Thanks Ron - those are great ideas - as far as showing those classic / cult / camp films in the theater, are you talking about 35mm prints or DVD/Blurays? Or basically just looking at showing those in the bar/lobby area?

Thanks again for your insightful comments!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s 14 Jun 2011 03:33 #36478

  • fesfilms
  • fesfilms's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 0
I just have the public domain programs on standard DVD, but good quality. They have been shown in 400 seat theaters that have good DVD projectors, and the results are pretty good. I offer a free sample DVD to try out.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: looking to open a cinema/drafthouse, have some ?'s 14 Jun 2011 06:14 #36479

  • jacker5
  • jacker5's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 881
  • Thank you received: 6
  • Karma: 7
I just have the public domain programs on standard DVD, but good quality. They have been shown in 400 seat theaters that have good DVD projectors, and the results are pretty good. I offer a free sample DVD to try out.


I received your samples and really enjoyed it. They played well on a DVD projector and looking into purchasing a few sets. The quality and content are well put together and take you back to those days of old time cinema. Were you would see a movie, short, cartoon, serial and clips!
Last Edit: 14 Jun 2011 06:14 by jacker5.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
Time to create page: 0.418 seconds
attraction attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction