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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Sub-Run theatres (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Sub-Run theatres
Allison Parsons
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 630
From: East Peoria, IL
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted 11-08-2004 12:07 AM      Profile for Allison Parsons   Author's Homepage   Email Allison Parsons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I work for GKC and May of this year my theater closed down. We were basically a sub-run theater that played movies that were too old to be at first run houses but not old enough to come out on DVD yet... you get the point.
Anyway....Curious to know if anyone works at a sub-run theater. We were the last in the company and it's sad to think that there aren't too many of them left anymore [Frown] And I miss my 5 platter system too!

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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 11-08-2004 12:42 AM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I work at a sub-run, the only one in the Richmond ares, as such business is usually pretty good. Admission is $2.00. We keep our concession prices down to encourage business too. Screen ads also are also a significant part of revenue. Mid-nites don't hure either.

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4067
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 11-08-2004 08:12 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sub runs have been squeezed hard by the ever smaller gap between theatrical and video release. In the Chicago area the Classic Cinemas chain had a whole fleet of sub-runs in the not so distant past. Most are now first run or are no longer in their orbit (sold, leased, lease not renewed, whatever).

Maybe you can find out the numbers your theatre was doing in recent years and if there is still life in the business reopen it yourself maybe with some partners. Just because it wasn't an attractive business for a larger company doesn't mean it might not generate a decent return for a smaller operator without layers of management to feed. Worth a look at least.

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Thomas Procyk
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1842
From: Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 11-11-2004 12:06 AM      Profile for Thomas Procyk   Email Thomas Procyk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The sub-run I "used to" work at did pretty well, especially on bargain Tuesdays. IMHO, they fluctuated the prices around too much on the weekdays/weekends. If you keep your prices consistent, your customers will be more consistent.

Since the hurricanes, however, the theater has had some damage. A lot of cieling tiles were down last time I was there and there was a bad smell of soaked insulation/carpet/seats in the theaters. Hope they can get that taken care of in time before it drives all the customers away.

=TMP=

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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 11-11-2004 12:26 AM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Video release doesn't seem to hurt. Often the advertizing hype that precedes video release significantly increases our 2nd week business on a film.

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Edward Jurich
Master Film Handler

Posts: 305
From: Las Vegas USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted 11-12-2004 09:45 AM      Profile for Edward Jurich   Email Edward Jurich   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The single screen Englewood here used to run classic's but went first run. It wasn't doing very well with classics and barely getting by first run. The manager was stealing the place blind and was arrested so I wound up running it. However, I can't live on $9.00 an hour so I'm on a job search to go back into radio broadcast engineering full time. When I find something the owner said he'll close the theater because he doesn't have time to run it. The problem here is finding someone that is honest, can work for low wages and can run the booth and put up with the owner [Wink]

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Chris Erwin
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 195
From: Olive Hill,KY
Registered: Oct 1999


 - posted 11-12-2004 10:48 AM      Profile for Chris Erwin   Email Chris Erwin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The video window has all but killed subrun. If you play subrun, my heart goes out to you. I can imagine the prints you may get.

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Allison Parsons
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 630
From: East Peoria, IL
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted 11-13-2004 02:42 AM      Profile for Allison Parsons   Author's Homepage   Email Allison Parsons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
chris:
Oh the prints that I have seen at the sub-run theater would make any film geek cry. Nothing like getting a note attached to a print stating "I'm sorry, this was the first time I ever tore down a movie, good luck". The movie... Gone with the Wind! hey thanks mr booth person.
before we closed, we were starting to play movie even after they showed up on video. Business was fare, but it was mainly those people who couldn't rent the film or just wanted to see it on the big screen one more time. By the time we closed, we were at $3.50 admission so it wasn't much of a bargin, especially since renting a film is almost that much. But, I'd personally rather see a film in a theater than on my tiny tv screen (if I had to choose between those two) at home and I take comfort on knowing there are more people like myself out there as well.

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 11-14-2004 12:06 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I must be the luckiest guy in the world. With all the odds against me, I still make a comfortable living running a single screen, small town, old (1921), 2nd run theatre with megaplexes all around me. 4 Regal, 1 Carmike, 1 AMC, about 90 screens in all. Not only is my business good, but there is enough income generated that I can maintain the building in good condition.

Why is this I ask. I constantly hear everyone complaining about how bad subrun business is. That it is almost non existant. Our metro area of 650,000 people still has three single screen, and one 4 screen subrun. One of the single screens does fair to good, one does poor, the 4 screen does only fair at best, and my single does very well. What's the difference? It's the way they are run. You have to run your theatre in a professional theatrical manner to lore in and keep patrons. If you do that you can still succeed 2nd run.

I also seldom ever get bad prints. If so I request a new one. That happens less then once a year. With 2500 to 5000 prints going out to 1st runs and there only being a couple hundred subrun screens, there are lots of prints available. The first runs can't (I hope not) damage all those prints.

The other key to being a successful subrun (or any run for that matter) is promoting your theatre. My theatre is constantly in the news..., newspapers, magazines, TV, with stories, photos, tie-ins, whatever it takes to stay in front of the public. Your theatre has to become a household word, a place everyone is constantly thinking about in a positive way.

I am a person of only average means and intelligence. I have been successful for almost 40 years. If I can do it. You can do it too.

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4067
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 11-15-2004 12:03 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well dang; too bad Allison already took apart her theatre! [Mad]

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David Yauch
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 206
From: Mesa, AZ, USA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted 11-15-2004 12:28 AM      Profile for David Yauch   Email David Yauch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sub-runs down here do rather well, mainly by placing themselves near shopping malls and marketing themselves to the teen crowd.

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Brent Neal Jones
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 211
From: Ennis, T.X., USA
Registered: Nov 2001


 - posted 11-26-2004 07:10 AM      Profile for Brent Neal Jones   Email Brent Neal Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's the hype on T.V. that drives most of all. Let's face it, if it's in their face and on their cup at Burger King and they just can't wait another minute, they will come to a sub-run theatre. Because a film only dies when the reviews and the publicity dies. And some films have after-life...(not many anymore) I've ran sub-run theatres and been part of some for a long time, and I just love it when a movie gets a little more attention before video release...man it helps! [Smile]

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Justin West
Master Film Handler

Posts: 270
From: Peoria, IL, USA
Registered: Jul 2001


 - posted 11-26-2004 09:04 AM      Profile for Justin West   Email Justin West   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Richard: I have been outside your theatre but never inside to catch a show! I would like to do that someday. Nice marquee!

Allison: Is the GKC sub-run place you are referring to, the "Westlake Cinemas," by any chance? I believe they closed about the time that Rave Theatres opened their new 18-plex about 3 miles away...adding to the previously existing market of Goodrich's Willow Knolls 14 (about 2 miles away) and GKC's own Landmark 10 about 1 1/2 miles away) pretty tough to compete and, at $3.50 admission, not attractive enough to draw patrons away.

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Allison Parsons
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 630
From: East Peoria, IL
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted 11-28-2004 12:00 AM      Profile for Allison Parsons   Author's Homepage   Email Allison Parsons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Justin,

You are correct about Westlake. Our attendance was declining WAY before the Rave even was thought of out there. We did great business until we raised our prices to $2.00 and the DVD boom occurred. I was the last manager to manager Metro when that closed down as well. Maybe I just have bad luck at theaters!

Did you work for the Drive-In in Peoria? (the Varsity comes to mind but i'm sure that's not what it was called)

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Justin West
Master Film Handler

Posts: 270
From: Peoria, IL, USA
Registered: Jul 2001


 - posted 11-28-2004 10:03 AM      Profile for Justin West   Email Justin West   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No, I have only worked at a drive-in near Louisville, KY...but I regularly attended many drive-in theatres in the Peoria area in the distant past. The Varsity was the indoor theatre (now demolished) aimed at the college crowd along Main Street, near Bradley University.

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