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Wakanda and Strange World for $1.50

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  • Wakanda and Strange World for $1.50

    How can a twin cinema in Daingerfield, TX show the new Marvel Movie Wakanda and the Disney film Strange World for $1.50 admission (as advertised on their website and phone message machine) ?

  • #2
    By just doing it?

    I guess they try to make it back by selling more popcorn and soda?


    • #3
      Maybe things have changed. It used to be that the studios would not allow a discount theatre or "dollar house" as they used to called, to play any first run product. Such theatre's typically wait 1-3 months before they can open a film. At $1.50, the studio is probably losing money on the film run.


      • #4
        Maybe you should name and link the actual theater here, it's not like there are a lot of twins in Daingerfield, TX. Apparently, they've been doing this for quite a while. The price even used to be 99 cents (apparently). Someone is seemingly still sending them DCPs with working KDMs, so it seems that whatever they're doing is working for them...

        Most if not all studio master contracts will contain an NDA part so I guess it will be difficult to discuss them here out in the open. There are also substantial differences between territories, but I'm not even sure if the last set of contracts I've seen listed an absolute minimum per ticket.


        • #5
          Well here is the place:


          • #6
            I have seen clauses in MLA's where they set out a minimum film rental per ticket. But we have never been priced such that our percentage owed would be less than that minimum, so I have no idea how strict they are with it or how well it's enforced, or IF it's enforced.

            You would think that if ANY company would enforce its minimums to the letter, it would be Disney.

            Edit: Since I'm working alone on this Black Friday (not exactly a barnburner day in the auto parts business), I did a little more research on this place. I have to say, it's kind of an enigma. Built in 1923, it is a very similar theater to ours here. Even the seating configuration is the same as ours was when built. It started out as a single screen with balcony, but they walled off the balcony and turned it into a separate screen, which we have not done. With prices like that, I expected it to either be a real dump, or have sky-high concession prices -- but neither is true, the place looks pretty decent. Has what looks like modern seating and surround sound. The screens are fixed-masked, but I can't be sure sure what the aspect ratio is - looks like flat, but I'm not sure. They have about 900 reviews and a 5-star rating on Google, with everyone complimenting on how friendly the place is and how low the prices are.

            Maybe it's a family-run place, or maybe the local city owns it so it can be a non-profit. One of the comments I read said you need to get there early to get a seat, so it must be very popular. It's in a town of about 2500 people.
            Last edited by Mike Blakesley; 11-25-2022, 12:36 PM.


            • #7
              We do have absolute minimum ticket shares in Germany, by some of the mainstream distributors - Disney, and e.g. Sony. Only Disney enforces it, at least for a few initial weeks.

              But maybe that 1.50$ is not what the cinemagoer actually pays there. There are all sorts of tricks that can be played, as well all know. Or maybe this cinema simply does not have to make any real profit from it's movie business. Wondering what the local competition is?
              Last edited by Carsten Kurz; 11-25-2022, 07:05 PM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Carsten Kurz View Post
                But maybe that 1.50$ is not what the cinemagoer actually pays there.
                Like Mike indicated, the place has quite a few Google reviews and most of them very positive. They really seem to charge just $1.50 a seat, no strings attached.

                Just like the place itself, their MLAs might be very old and contain or not contain specific clauses. Maybe the place is so popular that even with this $1.50 bottom price, the revenue stream coming from this particular theater towards the studios is as such that it doesn't raise eyebrows for an apparent 250-seat theater.

                It seems to be a family-run business and I guess they own the building themselves, so they probably know how to keep their operating expenses to a minimum. If they manage to sell an average of 200 bags of popcorn and sodas a day, I guess they'll just be able to cover operating expenses and even pay one or two minimum wages.


                • #9
                  Wondering what the local competition is?
                  They probably don't have any. Their situation is remarkably similar to ours here -- town just a little bigger than our town, and they're in the county seat, same as we are; and the county population is just a little bigger than ours. And no major cities less than an hour away.

                  I'm guessing Marcel is on to the situation -- they probably turn in pretty good grosses and they're small enough that the studios don't pay that much attention to how many tickets they're selling vs. how many dollars they're sending in. The industry could take a hint from this place.... maybe not drop prices to that extreme, but it's food for thought how people might respond if prices were lower. Look at how well "Cinema Day" did last fall.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Marcel Birgelen View Post

                    If they manage to sell an average of 200 bags of popcorn and sodas a day, I guess they'll just be able to cover operating expenses and even pay one or two minimum wages.
                    If I sold that many a day here, I'd have a manager and be looking for my next location. Especially if they could do that in an area that small.

                    There has to be something up because they do look at your gross potential. There's a reason why smaller locations don't get everything they want when they want. Per theatre averages. So the distribs would surely know ticket cost.....right?


                    • #11
                      For most of our showings, including first runs and opening week, are only $3.00 and often a discount day is only $1.00. We have run "barter days" where people will trade things in exchange for a movie ticket (we cover the studio fees). This allows people who can not afford the theater experience to keep their pride and be part of the fun of seeing what people bring in.

                      Our concessions are priced low but fair. We make our profit from concessions and do a lot of to-go orders. I don't see a need to be expensive. I would rather share the movie theater experience with three people at a low cost to them rather than share it with one person who can pay the higher prices.


                      • #12
                        Agreed, but you give away half of your 3€, and you certainly have to cover other costs, too.


                        • #13
                          I figure a movie on the break is 65% to the studio so I make a dollar for each person who pays the $3.00 admission. I don't feel a need to charge more and keep very little of it. As long as the studios are happy with the checks I send them, why charge a lot more to make very little? If I charge more I will run the risk of chasing customers away. During these hard times, people have less and less money to spend on things like movies.. I think for our area, the lower prices have a positive effect on the bottom line and actually makes more money for the studios.
                          I don't have a lot of overhead... electrical, sewer, heat/AC, insurance, property taxes, upkeep and a few employees, which I can cover with my share of the admission.


                          • #14
                            We are in a tiny town.. Our two nearest competitive theaters are in towns that are 5 to 9 times larger than the town we are in based on population. They should be doing 5 to 9 times more business than we do, but they are not. I follow their sales from time to time. They are a chain theater with on-line seat selection or ticket purchasing so I can follow how many tickets they sold. They show a movie more often and in more auditoriums that can can but at the end of the day, they sell about the same number of tickets as we do. Rough math.... we are hitting about 15% of the population and they are doing about 4% or 5% of their population. (that is doing the math in my head so it is likely to be off a little).


                            • #15
                              The studios are allowing some locations to get away with lower ticket prices like $5 or $6 for all showings ..... but those locations are required to pay out 100% of that film revenue.
                              Disney would not allow the scenario above with first run movies for $1.50 - they are probably not aware, and i'm guessing this theater is far enough from any competitors that no one has complained to the studios.