Showing 26 - 49 of 49 comments
Yes, the new 3D is much better than its predecessors which date back as early as the 1920’s, then called “Plasticon”. But whether or not 3D’s latest reincarnation will remain a novelty is a big question – and the zealouts that feel it will revolutionize the movie industry have not learned from the lessons of history.
Douglas Gomery writes about the 1950’s 3D in his book “Shared Pleasures” (1992): “The innovation of 3-D was over almost before it began. By mid-1954 it was clear that with all the expense involved with special attachments to projectors and glasses issued to patrons, the added revenues from 3-D never proved worth the investment”.
Currently it seems some people are willing to pay extra to experience 3D – many for the first time. But if every theatre had 3D capability, as Katzenberg would like to see, then the novelty of 3D will be gone and it will be business as usual.
For my money, Disney’s “Bolt” had some of the best quality sound of any film this year.
Only someone with a great deal of money to lose would even consider building a single-screen theatre. And if that’s the case, it doesn’t matter what it costs.
The fact that Justin places great value on being able to pause the movie anytime to “do stuff…” would suggest that he just doesn’t get it.
Actually, NA just closed two muliplexes in Flint as they continue their exodus from Michigan.
Ken’s advice is good. Many before you have had the same aspirations and questions.
I know there are many reasons why theatres don’t perform to their maximum potential, but the word “bankruptcy” should send up a red flag. I doubt that a single screen theatre in a small town represents a very viable business opportunity, but this should not dampen your enthusiasm if you’re prepared to eat, sleep and breath the business, or if you have a day job that can help pay the bills.
The type of programming you pursue will depend on factors such as demographics, nearby competition, etc.
You may also want to consider forming a 501c3 corp and trying to garner community support for a non-profit operation and restoration project.
Best of luck.
Thanks TheatreBuff for your insight.
It’s easy to blame the demise of the single screen theatre and indeed, many social ills on “the powers that be”. Politicians, urban flight, greedy business executives, unruly patrons, etc. have all contributed to the current state of affairs. Volumes could be written about any of these things.
In the end, however, the reason single screen palaces died is because people stopped going. The reason multiplexes work is because people do go. Business reacted to changes in social behavior and lifestyle. Business did not cause these changes. Downtowns were gutted not because of corrupt politicians, but because people stopped supporting the businesses that were rooted there. (And they voted for corrupt politicians.)
The reason why most mainstream movies suck is because that’s what people want to see. Thatâ€™s where the grosses are and that’s what pays the theatre bills. Better quality movies are everywhere, but people don’t go to see them. Mainstream Hollywood and exhibitors cater to those who buy the greatest number of tickets, and mainstream society continues to get dumber. These movies don’t “insult much of the audiences intelligence level” (apologies to Love movies-hate going), they embrace it! People make their choices for themselves. Hollywood doesn’t make the choices for them.
The notion that the demise of the single screeners and the great theatre experience has been the result of the never-ending quest for the almighty dollar may have some credibility, but in the end, that dollar is given freely by those whose collective bargaining power far outweighs that of the theatre chains, the politicians and even Wal-Mart. To suggest that people have nothing do with the sorry state of affairs is absurd. They have everything to do with it.
To address schmadrian’s challenge as to what could have been done to avoid it, the answer is nothing. People lament the loss of the downtowns and the neighborhood theatres while they drive to the suburban multiplex.
The remaining single screen theatres are perhaps more threatened now than at any point in history. Digital Cinema will not save them because it is cost prohibitive and the business model doesn’t work. Digital cinema will more likely be the death knell for the struggling independents.
Many of the remaining theatres are transitioning into the public sector where they are purchased and operated by 501c3 boards of directors and volunteers who don’t have a vested interest in the “business” and often do not know how to manage the (often public) monies that become available to them. So we have “community” theatres and performance venues that host a variety of events attended largely by the local socialites. Maybe we even get the occasional classic or independent film.
This is certainly better than a shuttered theatre or some insensitive adaptive reuse, but I don’t think it’s what people have in mind when they wax nostalgic about the “good ol' days” of the thriving downtown movie palaces and the neighborhood cinemas.
People have the power to affect change. But do they have the passion?
Is 3D the next big rage? Uh…been there, done that, and it ain’t that great. My contention is that good movies sell movie tickets. The 3D hitch won’t make a bad movie good, and crowds will not shun a good movie simply because it’s not 3D. So what’s the point?
I have watched this project evolve for over twenty years and still attend whenever I’m in the Detroit area. It keeps getting better all the time. Congratulations!
Dan, If any of the marquee panels have been damaged, these can be replicated by a porcelain sign manufacturer. I’ve used Cherokee Porcelain in Knoxville, TN. They do a great job matching color and can make replacement panels for any damaged ones that can be removed.
The porcelain enamel clad block on the front of your theatre is far more difficult to restore. Depending on the damage, these would have to be filled and repaired much like auto body work using plastic or fiberglass resins. Coatings technology continues to improve and there are many new primers and paint products that will bite into the existing porcelain and produce a look thats similar. They’ll never be exactly like the original porcelain and will require maintenance, but I know of no other alternative for on-site repair. If anyone else does, please advise.
I’ve been to your theatre in recent years. Keep up the good work.
Hey Longisland, are you posting on bigscreenbiz.com as “slapintheface”? This was the only current post re: grants. Thanks for your frequent contributions.
I’m not sure this is “news” or is an appropriate post for this site. Advertising for your theatre is probably best aimed at your local market. Am I alone here?
It appears that the Bucyrus has been purchased by a 501c3 corp. with the intention of restoring for use as a community theatre. The full article is here: View link
The proper link! Vassar Theatre
VASSAR, MI – I am considering selling the Vassar Theatre , a beautifully restored single screen in this small rural community. Page includes links to the website and a photo gallery. Please email for more information
The Cinemark website states that a “new, all stadium, all digital theatre will be coming soon”.
The Cla-Zel has been purchased by a group of investors who plan to create “an upscale entertainment facility” featuring a bar and live music. A newspaper article can be viewed at:
LONGISLAND…If you were right (and I wish you were), I’d agree with you. you will find the information on the Nov. 11 post of the same thread you reference. If you would like more information, please check out the following: http://mpaa.org/researchStatistics.asp or you can visit NATO online for the same information.
As for 2007, I’m using data available through subcriptions to Rentrak and Nielsen EDI. The startling numbers from last weekend will likely not reverse what is looking like a down year.
Movie attendance is not up. It increased slightly in 2006 following a three-year decline. Box office revenues have increased slightly due to price increases, not attendance. 2007 does not look promising, even after the record breaking weekend. Five-year trend is down and industry analysts predict this will continue. DLP is not the savior.
The “uncertainties” have less to do with the digital transition than economic forces and the changing face of the movie and entertainment industry. Sumner Redstone also reacted to these changes, suggesting that conventional theatres were on their “last reel”.
Wehrenberg is a prominent regional circuit with good properties in good markets and this move should be construed as an indication that trouble looms on the horizon for many theatres and circuits. If that is in fact the case, better to be the first out than the last one holding the bag.
The Vassar Theatre reopened Nov. 23, 2005 after a thirteen year restoration executed by owner, Tim O'Brien. Total seating is now 371 with 281 on the main floor and 90 in the balcony. The theatre is open for daily operation featuring first-run films.
Official website: http://vassartheatre.com/
A photo gallery can be viewed here: View link
I wish you were correct, longislandmovies. Attendance spiked slightly in 2006 breaking a 3-year downward trend. Factoring in the weak fouth quarter, 2007 attendance is expected to be less than 2006. Over a five year period, attendance is trending down.
Hmmm. First of all, I can’t see how IMAX “donating” 100 projectors at $500,000 a pop is going to stop their bleeding.
Second, retrofitting existing auditoriums into IMAX theatres woud seem to negate the differential advantage which made the IMAX a unique movie experience. IMAX theatres were designed from the ground up for IMAX technology. Will moviegoers, who’ve been deluded into thinking that digital cinema somehow justified increasing ticket prices, just see it as another movie on another screen in the local multi? (Was that theatre #6 or #16?)
Third, I beleive that IMAX traditionally utilized a hugh projected image that was essentially 70mm film with the frames oriented sideways such that the height of the image was close to 70mm and the width proportionally greater. This made for a fabulous projected image on a hugh screen and I’m skeptical that the current digital technology can match it. We’ve seen digital, and it ain’t all that.
Last, Is this just another thing that the multi chains will ruin? AMC might be one of the better chains, but the industry continues to scratch it’s head while attendance drops (or remains flat according to NATO) failing to see that the great moviegoing experience has been compromised by poor quality projection and sound, filthy auditoriums and people who no longer know how to enjoy film or make it more enjoyable for others.