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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Stadium Seating retrofit (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Stadium Seating retrofit
Matt Fields
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 537
From: Jackson, Ohio, United States
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 01-02-2006 11:23 AM      Profile for Matt Fields   Email Matt Fields   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are several new theatres in my part of Ohio, all featuring stadium seating, that are doing good business. A theatre in a neighboring town has recently retrofited with stadium seating and seen a significant increase in business.

It seems to me that, in general, stadium seating is what the public perfers. Therefore, I would like to add it to my theatre.

Does anyone have any first hand experience doing this and maybe sharing some tips?

I know that there are a couple of different methods (steel or foam). Any prefernces?

Has anyone tried a local contractor?

Thanks for any input. - Matt

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William T. Parr
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 823
From: Cedar Park, TX
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 01-02-2006 12:06 PM      Profile for William T. Parr   Email William T. Parr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Matt, I worked at the Highland 10 in Austin 2 years ago when we did a Stadium retrofit in an old GCC 10 screen. We used a local contractor that built using Aluminum and steel from blueprints drawn up by a Dallas architect. It turned out to be a nice retrofit for us.

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1108
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-02-2006 12:56 PM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As long as you have a decent architect that's familiar with theatres and stadium retrofits, any contractor can follow the blueprints.

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Steve Scott
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1300
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 01-02-2006 01:15 PM      Profile for Steve Scott   Email Steve Scott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When Marcus retrofitted the GTI theatres in Minneapolis/St. Paul they used a good, gradual-slope metal riser system that although being quite show-consuming to put in, worked technically great. Mullers used those huge foam blocks for their new 14-plex in Monticello, and that's become the method I prefer for new installs. As far as a retrofit is concerned, it is nice to have the storage space underneath the risers.

In terms of popularity, it is definately the suburban crowd that loves stadium seating, but I think the "demand" has turned to expectation of stadium seating, seeing as those suburban theaters that didn't retrofit mostly closed down around here. There are certain suburbanites and the majority of city-dwellers that are still looking for sites with good presentation, and most of the standard-style houses within Minneapolis/St. Paul still enjoy good business without converting. AMC has really suffered at Mall of America without a retrofit though. Their sightlines are piss poor.

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 01-02-2006 07:20 PM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hopefully it will be possible for you to do it. My theatre just had all 12 screens retrofitted, the original 6 built in 86 and the addition built in 97. The original 6 lost an ENORMOUS amount of capacity. All of them lost nearly half their seats. One went from 258 to 140. Aside from a minor design flaw that if corrected could have added about 10 seats per theatre there really isn't anything that could have been done to squeeze in more seats except not to retro. The newer section of the theatre wasn't nearly as bad with theatre's losing between 9% and 25% of their seats.

As far as construction, a theatre near us put on a new 'super' screen and used the foam method, we went with steel. Not really sure what the difference is other than perhaps price and finding a contractor who can work with foam.

As a theatre manager I was of course not involved in the bid process or any other such higher level stuff. I can say that the general contractor, Oakview Construction out of Iowa, was excellent. They also have a lot of experience with new builds/retros. Might be worth checking out.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4421
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 01-02-2006 07:36 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When we built the stadium theatre at Goshen Indiana (the one AMC copied) we poured side and rear foundations and just used fill.

The later refinement to this is step shaped piers on left and right with prestressed concrete sections laid across. The space underneath has proven quite useful as storage.

The hollow system has quite a few advantages, one of which is easy wiring of the step lighting. E mail me if you need contacts. Louis

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Matt Fields
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 537
From: Jackson, Ohio, United States
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 01-02-2006 10:20 PM      Profile for Matt Fields   Email Matt Fields   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for all the input.

I'm not too worried about the loss of seats. The closest theatres are 30-40 miles away, so sell outs don't bother me too much and I don't want the customers to be cramped. I talked to one guy who said you can get one seat for every 20 square feet in the auditorium. Anyone else heard of that?

I'm still in the early planning stages, getting opinions and trying to get some rough costs. I want to go to Showest this year to talk to some of the construction and seating people.

My big concern is that if I don't put the stadium seating in, someone else will see it as oppurtunity to come into my market and wipe me out.

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Stephen LaPadula
Film Handler

Posts: 50
From: New York, Ny
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 01-04-2006 02:30 PM      Profile for Stephen LaPadula   Email Stephen LaPadula   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At least two people mentioned that the stadium retrofit will make for storage space under the seats. In NY this is a big no-no.
Unless the theatre was originally constructed with a bathroom or storage room under the stadium, that space is not to be used for anything else.
Why you ask? This is a huge fire hazard. Your retrofit most likely doesn’t include sprinklers on the underside. the theatre I work for was hit with a multi thousand dollar fine for storing cleaning supplies and concession equipment under a few of the theatres stadium section. The way my theatre was built, there is an alcove for a garbage can in every theatre, and behind that was a removable panel in which led to the open space under the stairs.
This may be a NY thing (its seems like legal extortion, between the DOH and Fire dept, ect, getting fined for sneezing it seems, they always find something wrong)
anyway any who currently uses the underside of stadium seating for storage or who is considering it should certainly check with local fire authorities, or it could cost you big, or worse actually fuel a fire with no way of stopping it in that area.

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Steve Scott
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 01-04-2006 04:02 PM      Profile for Steve Scott   Email Steve Scott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can understand the need for such fire code mandates, and its likely that such codes exist worldwide, but as long as what gets stored underneath the risers is carefully controlled, the risk of disaster is minimized.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4421
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 01-04-2006 08:05 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Generally large cinemas already have sprinklers due to exceeding the max. size NOT to have them. Adding a few heads and 50 feet of pipe is an insignificant amount of money. Once you sprinkle, you can store almost anything that is not gas or explosives. Louis

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16057
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-09-2006 10:39 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can take or leave stadium seating either one is fine with me. Having stadium guarantees you an eventual injury lawsuit and probably higher insurance rates. I don't know an owner with stadium that doesn't have a lawsuit or two going.

If you are the only game in town and are a single screen you're throwing your $$ away. Money spent on adding extra screens to "keep" your area locked up is far more important, so is keeping your theatres at a very high tech level so your customers don't drive the 30 miles to the next location(picture, seats, and sound are all too often placed in the back seat) make your theatre presentation so good that your customers only want to see films at your theatre. If you have a "classic" type theatre put it back to original condition..... your town and customers will appreciate that. There are many much wiser ways to spend money.....

Mark

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Matt Fields
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 537
From: Jackson, Ohio, United States
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 01-10-2006 09:29 AM      Profile for Matt Fields   Email Matt Fields   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have four screens. I'm the only theatre in the county, but there are two new theatres about 30-40 mins away (10 and 11 screens, with stadium), and a third older theatre (seven screens) about 30 min away in another direction.

The older theatre just put stadium seating in about 2 months ago. I watch all of the area theatres grosses and it appears to me that his business has gone up since the conversion. More importantly for him, having the stadium seating takes away the motivation for someone else to build in his area.

The reason I want to upgrade to the stadium seating is to take away the motivation for someone else to come into the area and build a new theatre with the "modern" conviences, which I define as stadium seating and digital sound. Its not a waste of money if it keeps you in business, or put another way, if you don't give the public what they want, someone else will do it for you!

I agree with what Mark said about the tech level of the presentation. I've been working on improving the sound and picture quality. Soon I'll have DTS in all four theatres (CP 55's w/ Cat 441 cards and 280t SR; DTS 6 players, BACP sound readers, biamped JBL speakers, subs, and surrounds).

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16057
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-10-2006 08:09 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Matt,

I can guarantee you that the addition of stadium seating isn't going to keep any competition out. Its the number of screens that really matter the most. You have to overscreen an area in order to hold on to it.... a very costly thing to do. We have a number of customers that have done just that areas that are important to their chains. And it does indeed work. We also have many customers in areas like yours... some have converted to stadium and some have held off. Their groses all remained the same no matter what because those that added stadium seating didn't increase the local population base by doing so. Its not going to be any different in your area at the distance you are from the next theatres. Stadium may create some temporary interest but the "newness effect" wears off fast and groses go back to what they were. The guy you talked about that added staduim is in another situation all together different from yours in direct competition with a plex that does have staduim... he had no choice but to offer the same. Now should someone else enter into your area and threaten to build then you can drag out stadium seating as some ammo...... If I were in your shoes though I'd bank the dough till then.

Take a close look at the Hollywood Cinema photos... Now they have something real unique there and that sort of thing is a customer grabber that keeps them comming back, the slope of the floor could be practically flat there and it wouldn't matter a bit! I also know of a place in Canada that is similar but on a smaller scale... but its unique that they outgross many of the Toronto area multiplexes(check out Highlands Museum in the picture pages). I like what both locations did and its another way to make the cimemas more exciting than the films they are showing.

P.S. Stadium seating is definately NOT a "modern" convenience and is many times frowned upon and avoided by the older generation. Its also an ancient form of seating that was used by the Romans.

You have great sound equipment... Are there any baffle walls in any of those systems, are your surround arrays over spec'd and do you have any Blue or Red Isco lenses?

Mark

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Matt Fields
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 537
From: Jackson, Ohio, United States
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted 01-10-2006 09:33 PM      Profile for Matt Fields   Email Matt Fields   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark-

It will be awhile before I can financially do the stadiums, so I will have time to see if his grosses go back down. If they do, I'll probably just get new seats and keep the slope. He also raised his ticket prices, so he may not actually be getting more people.

I don't have Isco lenses, they are Scheinder(sp?). I'm not sure what you mean by baffle walls. They have soundfold on the side and back walls, does that count? I'm also not sure what you mean by the surrounds being over spec'd. There are 10 in the big house, 6 in the medium, and 4 in the two small ones.

I did check out the Hollywood cinema and thought it was neat.

-Matt

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David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 4016
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 01-10-2006 09:45 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
Stadium may create some temporary interest but the "newness effect" wears off fast and groses go back to what they were.
That's WAY not true in the Eugene/Springfield market. Cinemark 17 and its stadium seating killed several other smaller and older theaters (West 11th Movieland 6, Springfield Quad, and arguably the single-screen McDonald in downtown Eugene). Cinemark clearly put a HUGE dent in attendance at Regal's "flagship" location in Eugene, Cinema World 8 (which was extensively renovated by Act III about a year before stadium seating really took off). I'm surprised Regal didn't close the place after Cinemark came to town. I do think Regal regained *some* of its business, but it took several years, and there's no way they've ever completely recovered.

Everyone I know who goes to movies prefers stadium seating.

quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
Stadium seating is definately NOT a "modern" convenience and is many times frowned upon and avoided by the older generation.
Maybe, but the older generation is not the demographic the large circuits are catering to.

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