We want to help independent theaters

posted by independentfilm on July 24, 2009 at 10:40 am

Theatre owners face mounting pressures from several different directions. Independent theatre owners are facing issues that they have never faced before.

  1. Lack of access to release.
  2. Increased revenue guarantees.
  3. Reduced theatrical attendance.
  4. Screens going empty or having to hold over an underperforming picture.

Now, theatres are being asked to invest in digital systems to accommodate a new standard set by the studios, DCI . The initial costs for converting theaters to digital are high: up to $150,000 per screen or more. While a theater can purchase a film projector for US$50,000 and expect an average life of 30—-40 years, a digital cinema playback system including server/media block/and projector can cost 3—-4 times as much, and is at higher risk for component failures and technological obsolescence. Experience with computer-based media systems show that average economic lifetimes are only on the order of 5 years with some units lasting until about 10 years before they are replaced

We are offering a distinct product set which can fill your screens and provide a proper film rotation. Monogram wants to help you reach your income potential.

We are offering the following;

  1. A new film every week during non-peak Hollywood release times.
  2. No minimum guarantees .
  3. Having only to pay a 40% revenue share to the distributor.
  4. Exceedingly low cost of equipment ownership.

We are offering feature films in the following genres;

  1. Christian theme movies.
  2. Genre and exploitation films.
  3. Special interest films.
  4. Family Orientated product.

We want to partner with you

Comments (31)

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on July 24, 2009 at 10:48 am

ok///////were ,who are u?

KenLayton
KenLayton on July 24, 2009 at 11:11 am

Theaters can’t make any money by having to replace projection equipment every 5 years. Heck the life of video projection equipment is two years tops. Stick with film projectors. I know some theaters with 60 year old film projectors still putting on daily shows.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on July 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm

When I finally run theaters, I will have both film & digital. And will hire experienced projectionists to run film (hopefully Maxivision) in the largest screen.

biograph68
biograph68 on July 24, 2009 at 1:44 pm

This is such an important topic. I’m still trying to get my head around how the current business model favors the large chains and impairs the independent operator. I don’t think turning your back on digital projection is the answer because I’m quite convinced it is here to stay. It’s also important to understand that video projection is not the same a digital film projection. The costs are very high. However, I doubt that the equipment investment will be obsolete in 5 years. There is no reason, in the next decade at least, to have a new digital standard. The resolution is already similar to 35mm (70mm is up for debate), the sound is already at 7 channels, and there are options for 3-D or live event feeds. I’m concerned that equipment costs are not coming down fast enough that the small operators will miss the competitive opportunity. This is a little bit of history repeating itself. When sound was introduced in the late 1920’s, a number of screens went permanently dark because they could not afford the conversion to sound. Some independents can survive with alternative program material, but I’m very worried about those that cannot.

Theaterman1
Theaterman1 on July 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I am sorry to somewhat dissagree,,,, you can buy the entire system, platter, sounds, lamphouse, cheaper then 50k more like 10-15k used and rebuilt

Theaterman1
Theaterman1 on July 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Including projectors

Theaterman1
Theaterman1 on July 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Including projectors

ron1screen
ron1screen on July 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I must agree that Film systems are the cheaper way to go and with a life span longer than most peoples work careers. The quality of film with good digital sound and proper optics is hard to beat, but that’s not the problem here. I work in exhibition and I have been told that as the bulk of the theaters change over to digital cinema the number of film prints available is going to be drastically reduced. Some movies will not be available on film at all. The major chains have all signed agreements to convert and once that is complete in about 3 years, movies on film is going to disapear. The distributors costs to produce a film print vs. a digital copy is huge. This is a numbers game and the studios and distributors are stacking the deck in their favor. They don’t care if the independents go out of business. Just like the advent of sound if you can’t convert you go dark. I don’t like the attitude but when the movie moguls died off and the film industry was taken over by large corporations and accountants started running the business this is what happens.

MPol
MPol on July 24, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Ouch!! So does this:

“I work in exhibition and I have been told that as the bulk of the theaters change over to digital cinema the number of film prints available is going to be drastically reduced. Some movies will not be available on film at all. The major chains have all signed agreements to convert and once that is complete in about 3 years, movies on film is going to disapear. The distributors costs to produce a film print vs. a digital copy is huge. This is a numbers game and the studios and distributors are stacking the deck in their favor. They don’t care if the independents go out of business. Just like the advent of sound if you can’t convert you go dark. I don’t like the attitude but when the movie moguls died off and the film industry was taken over by large corporations and accountants started running the business this is what happens.”

mean that great, golden oldie-but-goody classic films such as West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Fantasia, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider and many other great golden oldie-but-goody films will disappear from the movie landscape, never to be shown again in any movie theatres, the way they’re meant to be viewed. I’d sure hate to see the few independent not-for-profit movie theatres that play these great old classic films mentioned above, as well as other kinds of films that’re different from the schlockier movies that’re shown in most theatres nowadays go out of business.

If all that comes to pass, I predict more isolation of people from each other, which, in turn will breed suspicion, fear and hostility towards each other, as well as the total cheapening of the movie experience, which has been happening anyway.

carolgrau
carolgrau on July 24, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Come on owners stand up and fight, It’s film Company greed they want to cut out all the film people so they can put more in thier pockets. You don’t have to go with thier stupid digital B.S.So don’t. FIGHT THEM,

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on July 25, 2009 at 12:19 am

There will be plenty of prints as the rest of the wold will take decades to move away from 35mm. So the studios will still have to make prints.. It will be years,years,years before this is an issue..

markp
markp on July 25, 2009 at 1:36 am

I agree longislandmovies. And I also like the way CinemarkFan thinks up above as well.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen on July 25, 2009 at 4:21 am

I have been unable to locate any contact info for this outfit. Why is that? I agree that one can buy a complete film booth for far less that 50 grand. I have one bid for 15 grand (used/reconditioned equipment). Can you give us more info on yourself?

garymey
garymey on July 25, 2009 at 11:22 am

At Showest this year Disney’s Mark Zoradi told an big audience of exhibitors that “we look forward to the day in the near future when we will no longer make 35mm prints of films we release digitally in 3-D.”
In other words if you don;t convert so you can play 3-D, you can’t show future UP or G-FORCE sequels.

There is no doubt that digital equipment has built in obsolescence and that standards will change in less than 10 years.
more-

because they admitted a savings of over a billion dollars a year in prints, shipping and sotorage

A few years ago studios were going to financ

garymey
garymey on July 25, 2009 at 11:27 am

weird glitch—
A few years ago studios were going to finance the shift to digital because they admitted they would save over a billion dollars a year in prints, shipping and storage. Other advantages would include no more costly to replace scratched or damaged prints and the ability to replace a film should they decide to edit it after bad reviews and audience reaction.
But the greed of exhibitors anxious to have 3-D resulted in a turnaround where distributors sat back and watched an theater owners rushed to pay their own $150K per screen. There is a virtual print fee distributors pay exhibitors but for an indpendent operator like myself, with the 2 screen Balboa in SF, it doesn;t pencil out.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on July 25, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Movie534, read this. But especially read the last paragraph.

We need to band together to get Chris Nolan or another director that shoots on film to get behind this.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen on July 25, 2009 at 10:07 pm

It’s all hype guys. What the distributors hope for and reality are two different things. The majority of screens in the U.S. are still showing 35mm, some even 70mm (and 16mm prints are still being made). While digital screens will increase (especially among the corporate big boys houses) film will be with us for a long time and no distributor will risk cutting off a source of revenue.

ron1screen
ron1screen on July 25, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Yes film will be with us for some time to come but the # of prints will be reduced and small theater that don’t pull in big dollars that the big chains can virtually guarentee will suffer the most. Classics are already being digitized. I read a notice somewhere possibly on this site that the Hitchcock library is already being converted to digital with more titles to follow. Good movies will always be available in theaters, both first run and classic it is the format that is changing. I have spoken to several friends who travel abroad and they report that the movie theaters in large European cities are also converting to digital just like here. It will be the big chains first then the medium sized chains and so on with the independent owners last. It is all about money. I love film but I have to admit I watch movies in digital (not my own theater) when I have the chance. There are no scratches or damage and every screening is as good as the first one. Besides the idea is to keep the movie theater experience alive both in historic venues and modern cinemas. The audience does not care how the picture appears on the screen just as long as it does and is sharp and sounds good. Film was a medium that was developed because it was the only way to record moving images and replay them. This has worked for about 100 years, but now their is a new way and there will be more advances as time moves on. How would everyone feel watching a modern picture listening to the old studio standard mono sound that was delveloped in the 1930’s. But better sound has come along first there was the stereophonic 4 & 6 track magnetic developed in the 1950’s, amazing to listen to but expensive and fragile. Then the original dolby and now dolby digital. Formats constantly change, the idea is to give the audience the best picture and sound every time. Yes it is expensive and some solution to that needs to be developed, also a standard needs to be developed so that once the money has been spent the equipment will be in service long enough to make it profitable. For me the projection booth died when automation came into being. I loved the carbon arc lamps and the chang-overs every reel and the curtains and foot lights and general showmanship that went into putting on a show. Because going to the movies was a show. There are almost no profesional people upstairs running todays shows, so digital looks good to me, no scratches and flaws. Also the modern equipment can be programed to use stage lights and curtains if a historic theater has them.

MPol
MPol on July 26, 2009 at 10:25 am

Ron Carlson: I’m asking a different question: What about those great, golden oldie-but-goody classics that I’ve mentioned? Will they be digitalized too? I’d sure hate to see them disappear from the movie theatre scene altogether, because, no matter what anybody may claim about home theatre systems and big TV’s, they’re no substitute for seeing such great old classics in a real movie theatre, on a great big screen, with the lights down low, as they’re really meant to be viewed, and I’m sure there are others out there besides myself who feel likewise.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen on July 26, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Hello MPol:

I know you were asking the question of Ron but I’d like to jump in here. First, let me say I agree with Ron’s post. As for the classics they are already being digitalized (you can rent them at most any video store) so we won’t loose them. And I’m glad to hear that because I hope to make them part of the product I plan to show at the theatre I’m hoping to build. I agree with you too MPol that no home theatre system can compare with the best theatre system and the true theatre experience.

ron1screen
ron1screen on July 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm

To answer your question about classic films, YES I believe they are going to be available in some digital form that can be projected on the big screen in a real theater. Having a movie on 35mm film is no guarantee that it is available for screenings now. My theater shows a classic once a month and we tried to get “The Lion in Winter” (1968) with Katherine Hepburn, Peter O Toole and Anthony Hopkins. We own the DVD but there are no theatrical rights in the US. There are no prints in the US. It can not be shown in this country. The rights for public viewing are owned by a British company and the only 35mm prints are in Great Britain. So you can buy the movie for home use but many films are no longer open for theatrical showings. Hopefully this will change with digital as the cost of a copy will be much less.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on July 26, 2009 at 9:05 pm

35 mm film will be around for year do to the fact studios still must make the prints for the international market.

MPol
MPol on July 27, 2009 at 12:48 am

Hi, Bob Allen. Thanks for your reply to my questions and concerns about the great, golden-oldie-but-goody classic films, and for your compliments. I guess that video and DVD do have their advantages in that these old classics can be preserved and won’t disappear forever into the dustbin of history into cinema heaven, so to speak.

So, you’re building a movie theatre? How cool? Where’s it going to be? Just curious.

Hi, Ron Carlson. Thanks for your input also, and your good points. Ya know, though:
At the risk of sounding obsessive about this (which I admittedly am), I sincerely hope that this:

“ we tried to get "The Lion in Winter” (1968) with Katherine Hepburn, Peter O Toole and Anthony Hopkins. We own the DVD but there are no theatrical rights in the US. There are no prints in the US. It can not be shown in this country. The rights for public viewing are owned by a British company and the only 35mm prints are in Great Britain. So you can buy the movie for home use but many films are no longer open for theatrical showings"

doesn’t happen to my alltime favorite film, West Side Story.

theatrical showings.“\

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 27, 2009 at 9:26 am

why don’t the Brits make a 35mm copy of “The Lion in Winter” for the US? I’d love to see it on the big screen.

ron1screen
ron1screen on July 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm

West Side Story is an American film and should always be available while The Lion in Winter was a British production so the rights reverted to them. Making a release print and shipping it to us is costly and then some American distributor would have to agree to pay for the US distribution rights so you see it all ads up to more money spent on something that is going to have a limited return. Everything in this business is dollars and cents. ( I hate that) but it is true.

ron1screen
ron1screen on July 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm

West Side Story is an American film and should always be available while The Lion in Winter was a British production so the rights reverted to them. Making a release print and shipping it to us is costly and then some American distributor would have to agree to pay for the US distribution rights so you see it all ads up to more money spent on something that is going to have a limited return. Everything in this business is dollars and cents. ( I hate that) but it is true.

MPol
MPol on July 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Okay..thanks, Ron Carlson.

btw, I’m fully aware that everything in the movie business is dollars and cents, like most businesses, particularly nowadays.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 28, 2009 at 8:18 am

We are all aware of that. There is money in 35 mm movie rentals, as there are many theaters in the US that rent them & show them as classics. In my area, the Colonial in Phoenixville actually sent to England to rent a movie, paying for the shipping! so, a US facility that leases them out could easily pay to have a copy shipped here in order to rent out to many theaters.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on July 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

While it was shot in Europe with a mostly British cast and crew, The Lion in Winter was produced by the American company Avco Embassy. The Avco Embassy library has changed hands many times over the decades, and the rights to the film are currently owned not by an American company or a British company but in fact are owned by the French entertainment conglomerate StudioCanal.

But to get back to the topic at hand…

It will take years, and maybe even decades, for film to disappear from the majority of commercial, first-run movie theatres. As someone who works in exhibition, I see first hand every day I work how little the average filmgoer cares about digital projection or even digital 3D. Over the past couple months, we have played 2D and 3D versions of Up, Ice Age 3 and G-Force at my theatre, and the attendance between the 2D and 3D is about evenly split. In fact, quite a number of people do not want to pay the added surcharge for 3D.

My theatre has 14 screens between two locations a block apart from each other. Of those 14 screens, only one is equipped with a digital projector. If this conversation had happened two months ago, I would have said three had digital projectors, but we pulled two of them out due to a dispute with a provider (I still don’t understand quite what happened) and there are no plans to put any new digital projectors in somewhere down the line. There is no rush to add more digital projectors, because the public has shown little interest in it. 35mm is fine for most people, and its not due to some aesthetic expectations. Most people just don’t see the difference.

MPol
MPol on July 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Regarding the differences between 70mm & 35mm film, as well as digital film:

This:

“There is no rush to add more digital projectors, because the public has shown little interest in it. 35mm is fine for most people, and its not due to some aesthetic expectations. Most people just don’t see the difference.”

is probably true, Edward Havens, but what happens if both 35mm film and 70mm film totally disappear from the movie scene and into cinema heaven? Just curious as to what you think.

ceasar
ceasar on March 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Wilcox Theatres which took over the mall cinema here has done same thing. In fact they have held movies for over a month or more and the locals have caught on. Last weekend for example Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland opened all the metro cinemas in the Jackson area but not the local one here. When Regal UA owned the mall cinema for exampe they were able to open with a tim burton film with no problem. This isn’t the only time that this has happened with Disney films. Hannah Montana the movie didn’t open on the opening weekend and the Princess and the Frog. This sort of behavior only forces those here to go see the films in the metro market place.

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