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TOPIC: My Idea for a 4 screen arthouse theater

My Idea for a 4 screen arthouse theater 18 Apr 2012 00:16 #38282

  • dstommie
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I've been thinking about this for a while now and would love some input from those with more experience.

I'm in southern california, and my area has no shortage of megaplexes and a few 2nd run theaters as well. However, for most independant films or something in limited release you're only real option is to drive to LA which is 60 miniutes in the best of times but more like 90-120.

I think my area should be able to support those who would enjoy other options than what's in the megaplex, and more than that I'd like to offer a different kind of movie going experience. I'm thinking of making the movies more of an experience, show classic films, foster a community that the local universities would enjoy.

I've found a location I think would work quite well. It's a theater (looks like 4 screens, but I've never been in it) which is minutes away from a university, and a stones throw from the freeway. The building isn't very old, though I know renovations would need to be in order, and I doubt it has any intact equipment.

Is this a pipe dream or am I on to something?

How much should I expect this to cost? I've been having a hard time getting a fix on what equipment and projectors go for.
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Re: My Idea for a 4 screen arthouse theater 31 May 2012 09:31 #38557

  • revrobor
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Almost anyplace within a hour of LA has enough population density to open a theater that is different from the competition (both in programming and at the concessions). You need to offer reasonable prices at the boxoffice and concession stand. You can get equipment costs from American Cinema Equipment (www.cinequip.com). They have offices in both Portland, OR and LA. Scott Hicks is the owner. Tell him I recommended him. It won't get you anything but the guy has given me several bids over the years (none of which came to fruition) and I just feel I'd like to return the favor. BTW, I started my career in this business as a union projectionist in Pomona.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: My Idea for a 4 screen arthouse theater 24 Jun 2012 05:06 #38704

  • SamCat
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I am only guessing here. But if it was me do some population stats and work out how many people per screen are there at the moment. If it is less than 1 screen per say 10,000 then you might be too populated to warrant opening another cinema.
With the arts as an example if there was 110,000 people in a catchment and there was a 6 cinema site doing quite well then I would say that you could afford to open a 4 screen in the area for arts. But you would have to be careful. As there are other factors as well. eg how good the cinemas are, what the location and transport is like, etc. I am not sure what the catchment you would need for an arts. I live in a city with a population of 1,000,000 people and there are four art cinemas. So I am guessing is that an art cinema might need more than 100,000 people to warrant the opening. As most people prefer the new releases there is lower percentage of people that enjoy independant films so you in general need a higher population base that enjoy watching that type of film.
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Re: My Idea for a 4 screen arthouse theater 25 Jun 2012 23:49 #38723

  • rufusjack
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SamCat wrote:
I am only guessing here. But if it was me do some population stats and work out how many people per screen are there at the moment. If it is less than 1 screen per say 10,000 then you might be too populated to warrant opening another cinema.
With the arts as an example if there was 110,000 people in a catchment and there was a 6 cinema site doing quite well then I would say that you could afford to open a 4 screen in the area for arts. But you would have to be careful. As there are other factors as well. eg how good the cinemas are, what the location and transport is like, etc. I am not sure what the catchment you would need for an arts. I live in a city with a population of 1,000,000 people and there are four art cinemas. So I am guessing is that an art cinema might need more than 100,000 people to warrant the opening. As most people prefer the new releases there is lower percentage of people that enjoy independant films so you in general need a higher population base that enjoy watching that type of film.

I agree with 100,000 people. It seems in the Midwest that is a good rule to go by.
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