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TOPIC: Re-opening a 6 screen theater.

Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 05 Feb 2013 20:22 #39742

  • Jibsen
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Hello all,

I need some guidance to put together a business plan and a site design for an existing six screen in Atlanta. The building is empty except for the walls are still up where the theaters used to be. I want to start by opening two of the screens and the concession area. I have spoken with building management and worked out a good deal to get into the space. I want to charge $5 per ticket, and show second run movies and independent or faith based films. Can someone point me in the direction to get organized. Not sure if financially I could open with digital, but either way I need help putting together a list of what I need to open. Pleas let me know.

Thanks,
John
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Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 05 Feb 2013 22:11 #39744

  • revrobor
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Obviously you're going to need projection, concessions and box office equipment including pos equipment and seats. Feel free to pm or email me and we can chat further. I like your idea for the format, especially the faith based films. Every town needs that type of theatre. It would be good I think to make it a family friendly house.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 06 Feb 2013 15:35 #39746

  • rufusjack
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John,

First thing you need to do is to take a deep breath and do not be in a big hurry. What I will say will probably come across as very negative but that is business.

1) Why is this theater sitting empty? How long has it been empty?
2) The theater business is very expensive to get into these days. No matter what Bob says (he is in a small minority on this forum on many things)you will need to be digital. Film will be available this summer for the biggest movies but after that you should assume you it is gone forever. This is a good week to see the digital divide (those that are still hanging on to film). Valentine's week has been a week where smaller theaters used to get movies on the break.
3) I would not partially open a theater. Again this is no longer an inexpensive business to start. Most operators with two screens want more.
4) Lease-i would caution against signing anything longer than 1 year. empty theaters are a dime a dozen right now. You have the bargaining power. I opened a theater 7 years ago that had 75% of the equipment still there and I was able to get a 6 mo lease with options.
5) Faith based films-there just not enough of them to be a significant part of the business. I played all of the major ones that past few years. We played October Baby and I was amazed by the lack of awareness among the churches in my area as I called them up to promote the movie.

If the place is empty, $100k per screen should be a good starting point.
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Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 06 Feb 2013 20:00 #39749

  • revrobor
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Oh, c'mom Jack. Give me a break. He didn't say he would play a faith based films every week. There are more of them out there than you think. I have researched them. Have you? And there are plenty of sub-run and classics. Hey, I really do appreciate you guy.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Last Edit: 06 Feb 2013 20:00 by revrobor.
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Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 06 Feb 2013 20:05 #39750

  • Mike
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There are many obscure faith based films that if you somehow found a niche in a large population base might, might, might...work. But it would be tough. Even Christians like to wiggle sinfully in their seats and see Twilight. Why? I have no idea. But we played October Baby in a very very very strong Christian community and it was a bomb. And that was a supposedly known hit. All the rest of the advice is spot on.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 06 Feb 2013 21:47 #39753

  • Bob Nash
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Rufusjack, and of course Mike, are quite right.

There are not enough faith based films to make a difference in the market. Most faith based films are released into very limited markets to improve their DVD sales. By the time faith based films are available to sub run theatres those some movies are on DVD and are playing for free at nearby churches (legally.)

I would follow all of Rufusjack's points. This business can no longer be a part time hobby.

Bob
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Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 07 Feb 2013 00:29 #39755

  • rufusjack
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Yes Mr. Allen I was well aware of what faith based movies were available. The only ones that did anything close to mainstream movies (we excelled at pg to pg-13 family oriented movies, did poorly with anything rated R, romance, & horror) were the Kendrick/Sherwood movies. Of course those only come out one every other year. I tried a lot of different things. It would take years to cultivate a niche audience like Slap did in Charlestown, or the Ragtag in Columbia, MO. Of course those are liberal indie movie houses.
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Re-opening a 6 screen theater. 12 Apr 2013 05:17 #39907

  • gbeenie
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Where is the location? In Metro Atlanta, that matters a LOT.

I would also track down any of the previous operators there I could, to try and get a more balanced picture of how things got to be in the state they are currently.
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