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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Running classics -expensive! (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Running classics -expensive!
Elise Brandt
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 160
From: Kuusankoski, FIN/ Kouvola, Finland
Registered: Dec 2009


 - posted 12-14-2011 09:56 AM      Profile for Elise Brandt   Email Elise Brandt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I made an attempt to book the Sound of Music, either as a sing-along event or just a regular screening. I had no idea it would be financially impossible for a small screen. The minimum guarantees asked for are ridiculous (1500-2500€)! And the sing-along isn't even a DCP but DVD!!

How about the rest of Europe, or the US for that matter, I know some of you run classics but are you really paying this much? Do you actually fill the seats necessary to make any money at all?

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8115
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-14-2011 10:23 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ouch!

I don't know about SOM, but, in the US, something like that is generally in the $250-400 range, either flat rate or vs. 35% or something like that.

Licensing costs are generally the same regardless if the exhibition medium is a DVD, 35mm print, or something else. I don't know about DCPs, however, but they are not really a factor (yet) for most theatres showing classic films.

Where theatres really get whacked is in shipping costs. Most of these prints (the good ones, at least) are warehoused on the west coast now, which means that round-trip shipping could easily be $150-200 (or more!). This is signifcantly more than shipping a more recent title to/from the TES depot (which is generally under $60 round trip per print, unless something has changed recently. Also, current/recent films can often be picked up/dropped off from other theatres without having to pay shipping at all (again, unless something has changed recently...anyway, this was possible in the recent past).

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 12-14-2011 11:08 AM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If they send out prints on certain features sometimes you have to put a deposit on it for the cost of the print. Young Frankenstein is that way. But you get the money back as long as the print isn't damaged. Still you can just book it and go with the option of DVD or BluRay and avoid the deposit

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12700
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-14-2011 11:11 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't understand why they don't just do a percentage deal. I would run a classic movie every couple months if we could make any money on them, but at $250 to $400, there's no way even if we used blu-rays and skipped the shipping. Maybe the studios could come up with variable pricing based on the individual theater's weekly gross average. Given the limited market for a lot of classics, I would say 1/10 of the weekly gross vs 35% would be a good deal for a small market.

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 12-14-2011 11:24 AM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Most places that run Family Summer Series do pretty well making money off the concessions not the tickets. A lot of them make it a free movie. I haven't seen bookings above $200 for children's show.

I know that isn't exactly a classic series; however, have played a lot of classic children and family fare that way. When I had my own theater we always packed them in on those shows. I think we charged $2.00 a head and did about $4.50 a per head at concessions on them.

Never tried to book a Disney so not sure what they charge. I think you still have that 7 year issue and I don't think they let theaters run them period unless they are in release at the time.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12700
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-14-2011 03:33 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That 7-year thing is long gone. They don't book their older movies, period. Their (dopey) thinking is, the old movies will compete and take money away from the new ones.

I haven't seen a matinee priced at less than $250 in about 2 years. When I got into the biz $25 or $50 was the norm. A guy could make some coin back then!

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Ian Parfrey
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1049
From: Imbil Australia 26 deg 27' 42.66" S 152 deg 42' 23.40" E
Registered: Feb 2009


 - posted 12-14-2011 03:46 PM      Profile for Ian Parfrey   Email Ian Parfrey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Elise.

It seems that what you are being charged is bordering on the ridiculous.
Now, if it were a 70mm mag print of SOM, then I MAY be able to justify the guarantee asked, but even then there would be little if any hope of recouping anywhere near what is being asked.

At current conversion rates, your 1500-2500€ equals our $A1956.50 - 3274.9 or in that weird funny money they have in the U.S [Razz] , $US1946.80 - 3244.70.

Either way, you are being charged well over replacement print costs, in which case perhaps you could consider doing what some theatres here in Australia do and that is to BUY the print and keep it onsite.

Is it any wonder theatres who try and do the right thing get shafted while the studios bitch about piracy when you can buy the damn film for peanuts?

Best of luck with your venture Elise. Keep us informed on what eventually you decide.

Cheers

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 4251
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 12-14-2011 04:38 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yep, there must be something wrong with these numbers. Maybe you can find a fellow cinemaowner to inquire a second time. At least in germany we get classics always cheaper than current titles, be it flat or without minimum guarantee. Very few special titles on 35mm sometimes cost a bit more because they come from special sources, but nowwhere near your figures. Have you booked classics before? Under which conditions?

- Carsten

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Edward Havens
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 614
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Mar 2008


 - posted 12-14-2011 04:58 PM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Distributors aren't interested in your making any money on their product.

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 12-14-2011 05:06 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Edward you are right they are interested in them making money on their product!

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1078
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 12-14-2011 05:08 PM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We do our "Retro Weekends" in the fall to compete against the county fairs. What we see as far as terms go are almost exactly what Scott stated. Either a flat minimum of a percentage of the box whichever is greater. Can't state actual numbers here, because last time I did I got reamed by my booker - who got reamed by a studio rep. Never seen numbers like what Elise quoted.

Shipping is what always is the killer on booking older stuff. Can't wait to go digital... just for the ability to play the older titles off of Blue Ray (with proper licensing of course).

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Ron Funderburg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 814
From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 12-14-2011 05:11 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Alternative content options for Digital are attractive for sure. Not just bluray there is pay for view options as well. That is if you can talk the owners in to such things. Well if I can talk the owners in to such things. :-)

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Bill Enos
Film God

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


 - posted 12-14-2011 10:07 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Those prices are about right for Disney sing along prints. They only have a couple prints of those titles and they are well aware how popular they are. We have a non profit that rents the theatre
every year for one of those sing alongs, print rental is typically
around USD 1500.

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Elise Brandt
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 160
From: Kuusankoski, FIN/ Kouvola, Finland
Registered: Dec 2009


 - posted 12-15-2011 02:41 AM      Profile for Elise Brandt   Email Elise Brandt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Carsten, where do you get your classics?? I'd love a percentage deal since the cinema is small and we have no way to predict the turnout.

Film print costs I do understand, and even hoarding the popular DCP copies but come on, 2500€ for a DVD? I do have the Blu-Ray copy (a sing-along one, actually) at home anyway, bought it for 6,49€ and it included both BR and DVD... the source for the 2500€ deal was singalonga productions, and the lower one (1200€ plus DCP, KDM and shipping which amounts to about 1500€) was Hollywood Classics. But if they own the European rights, nothing I can do, right?

I'd love almost any classic onscreen, so again Carsten, in Germany, where would you get one at a reasonable price? An associate of mine tried to get a title from HC a while ago for a festival and the deal was not the same, but the same level of ridiculousness for sure. It's like they don't want to do business at all! I'd say small business is better than none.

Without a percentage deal I can't run alternative stuff. Thankfully we founf a line of Broadway musicals (Memphis, Smokey Joe's cafe, Jekyll and Hyde, Putting it together) to screen at a percentage, that's sweet. And of course there's The Royal Opera House of London that we're screening, actually going live for Sleeping Beauty tonight! *thumbs up*

The satellite stuff works now, and I'd like to thank you guys for your input about it earlier. (now that I said that it'll definitely go bust tonight...)

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5274
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 12-15-2011 03:48 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
$250 to $600 is the norm for straight classics. But the sing-alongs are a different story. SOM was just that -- $1500 against 45%. We said screw you and just handed out printed lyrics. When we did PURPLE RAIN, we used Powerpoint on the Barcos and projected lyrics on top of the film. Worked very nicely, but we needed an operator. As long as you are only running a few shows, it works very nicely. Since SOM does have a "sing-along" version, I don't know how Fox would take to what we did, but I can't see how it violates any copyright restrictions. Next one I want to try is MY FAIR LADY.

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