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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » The Upside of Business Downturn

   
Author Topic: The Upside of Business Downturn
Ron Curran
Master Film Handler

Posts: 499
From: Springwood NSW Australia
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 04-01-2006 09:19 PM      Profile for Ron Curran   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Curran   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe I’m a “glass half full” person but has any other operator seen positive aspects of lower ticket sales?
At our cinema, we now get good houses for popular films – around 80%. This is better than turning people away or people having no choice of seats. Both of those things upset customers and give them another reason not to come again. Those customers often abuse staff, however unreasonable that may be.
Film distributors are more anxious to sell you a title rather than making you beg for it. And they are open to discussion on season and session policy.
Our staff sees that we have to try harder to keep customers.
The sequels of re-makes of television shows are not working. Perhaps the message might get back up the line to the studio suits that we need a sea change.
There seems to be an even greater contrast between theatres that are motivated purely by profit and those that put standards of presentation and service first. The latter are getting a bigger slice of the smaller pie.

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Pravin Ratnam
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 837
From: Atlanta, GA,USA
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 04-02-2006 12:20 PM      Profile for Pravin Ratnam   Email Pravin Ratnam   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wish it were true everywhere. In Atlanta, I went to watch Inside Man opening weekend. The idiotic Regal Perimeter Pointe placed it in second biggest house of it's 10plex. Problem is there is a significant dropoff in seats from the biggest screen to the second one and V for Vendetta was in the biggest house AND another small house. Inside Man got sold out real fast. So i tried watching it again yesterday at an AMC Barret Parkway in an northwest Atlanta suburb. Ice Age 2 occupied all 4 big houses in a megaplex with Inside Man in two screens, but both were small screens. I skipped it not only for the small screen, but most seats were taken up fast already in the small house. Would it have hurt them to put Ice Age 2 in 3 big houses and 2 small houses instead of 4 big houses. It's not like most of the Ice Age audience even cares where they watch it.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8301
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 04-02-2006 04:03 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Pravin Ratnam
Would it have hurt them to put Ice Age 2 in 3 big houses and 2 small houses instead of 4 big houses.
..sounded as if AMC had a booking agreement with FOX for IA-2 to be shown in those four large houses..so FOX can garnish the usual huge weekend gross being the percentage is usually the highest on the opening weekend.

Afterwards, most film companies will be more lax, since the percentages will begin to slightly drop, on where the prints are assigned to, since the next week trend for movies to drop off on the average of 30 percent in attendance is a common thing.

Also, probably why REG opened that "Inside Man" in the smaller houses since the reviews on the movie wasn't the best and REG didn't want to waste a big house due to the film would only fill that large house in a 'half-full' situation, and where they can easily show a sellout in a smaller house on opening day.

Also,they can keep it there for a few more weeks since it would keep on selling out,help lower the percentage rates (where the theatre is making money on the movie and not giving so much to the film company) and keep the full potential of the smaller houses.

It really is a no-brainer on why some circuits open fliks in a small house, for they would suffer horribly with some openings in a large house...and they've been there and done that too many times.

-Monte

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1109
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 04-02-2006 04:52 PM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Pravin Ratnam
It's not like most of the Ice Age audience even cares where they watch it.
Ice Age 2 at that complex grossed 3.5 times more than Inside Man for Friday-Saturday. Butts in seats is the ultimate goal. Your point is correct about the Perimeter Pointe, however ... Inside Man grossed 3 times what V For Vendetta did there last weekend. Did you go on Friday or Saturday? Unfortuantely, before Friday, it's often a crapshoot to place movies. A good manager, however, will make necessary changes after Friday night so that movies are in the correct houses for Saturday.

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John Koutsoumis
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 04-02-2006 08:54 PM      Profile for John Koutsoumis   Email John Koutsoumis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Ron Curran
There seems to be an even greater contrast between theatres that are motivated purely by profit and those that put standards of presentation and service first. The latter are getting a bigger slice of the smaller pie.



I doubt it. Here in Victoria Theatres on a whole don't put on that great of a show yet people still flock there. So managers attitudes might be as long as people buy tickets and spend up big on overpriced junk food then their concerns for presentation are further down the list on their agenda. As far as customer service goes there are only a few friendly staff i've come across over the years. Most are stubborn, don't have a clue or either just don't care. And yes I have personally come across this time and time again.

Companies here like Village and Hoyts talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

In regards to the auditorium placement of films there was a 4 screen complex here in Melbourne (now closed [Frown] ) that when the "Matrix Reloaded" came out they showed it on all 4 screens.
The problem with that was that people coming to see it the opening weekend were truly disapointed when they realised the session they had bought tickets to was in the smallest auditorium with a tiny screen when next door they was a giant huge screen showing the same film as well other theatres around town. I went to see it at the same complex on the second weekend on their superscreen auditorium and there was no more than 10 people there on a Saturday night!! You think they would have known better.

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Pravin Ratnam
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 837
From: Atlanta, GA,USA
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 04-02-2006 11:14 PM      Profile for Pravin Ratnam   Email Pravin Ratnam   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike, thanks for the numbers. I went to Perimeter Pointe on a Saturday. What they did was open up a second tiny screen to screen Inside Man simultaneously. I think Box office predictions for Week 1 of Inside Man were greater than Week 2 of V for Vendetta. And the second screen they opened up for Inside Man was the second screen for V. So they actually thought V for Vendetta needed the biggest screen and an extra screen for its 2nd week and just one medium sized auditorium for the 1st week of Inside Man. Even when they cut down V to one screen, I had no problem finding a good seat that night. This location has a track record of even worse scheduling mistakes.

As far as AMC Barrett, it would have been nice if they could make up one less big screen for Ice Age2 by giving it two smaller screens and put Inside Man in just one big screen instead of two small screens. But then in Barrett's case, I am just bitching about my luck instead of questioning the management's logic. It is frustrating that you pay nearly 9 bucks and can't even watch a moderate hit in a big screen early in the release. By the way, I saw a part of Kill BIll 2 on starz Hidef on my 60 inch SONY SXRD and the blacks on a rear projection which is not as good as the besgt CRT blacks blew away the image quality in the theater. The B&W scene also loooked much sharper than the jittery image I saw at Perimeter Pointe. This is one reason why I have become a little bit more selective in watching movies.

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1109
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 04-03-2006 12:13 AM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Add to it the fact that ATL also outgrossed Inside Man at Barrett Commons this weekend and, yeah, no big screen for Inside Man in that complex!

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John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 889
From: Freehold, NJ, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 04-03-2006 05:24 PM      Profile for John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Email John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Like Professor Harold Hill said in "The Music Man": YOU GOT TO KNOW THE TERRITORY.

Translation: What plays best in your theater? Action pictures? Comedy? Childrens fare? You have to know your audience.

Even so, film placement in a multiplex is not an exact science. If I had all the answers, I'd open my own theater and make a fortune, but such is not the case. [Wink]

The key is flexability. If your calculated opinion is in error, you have to be ready to admit your mistake and make changes on the fly.

Additionally, there are what I like to call (for lack of a better term) "Friday night" pictures, and "Saturday night" pictures. The teens will show up on Friday night for one type of program, adults on Saturday for another.

Get to know your audience. Put the teen picture in the bigger house on Friday, and the adult fare in the big house on Saturday.

There will still be surprises. You have to be ready to move on them.

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Caleb Johnstone-Cowan
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 593
From: London, UK
Registered: Mar 2006


 - posted 04-05-2006 08:56 PM      Profile for Caleb Johnstone-Cowan   Email Caleb Johnstone-Cowan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's not exactly difficult to move screen on the night, is pretty easy to tell 20-30mins in advance when a film will sell out.

Agree about knowing your audience, for example we don't get kids in our cinema (thank goodness!). We can go an entire day with maybe 3 kids admissions. Even films like Narnia have a majority adult audience.

True about staff not having a clue or caring, I should know I work with them! There are a core of good people but some awful people, one got a complaint about projection recently and called the concession stand! Didn't even know the 'blame it on the distributor' excuse [Big Grin] Could go on for ages about it but don't know who reads this stuff. This is the downside of lower admissions, the exhibitors get away with cost-cutting and employing less enthusiastic staff.

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