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Everett, at least for me, rbehnke, it is not so much that it is digital. The theater that I am putting in is using digital more because I am combining it with a video store. It seemed a natural extention to offer the movies in a small theater setting. Especially for the movies you wish you had seen it the theater, but just missed it for some reason. We are going to be showing new release movies, ones you could rent. Granted a smaller audience, however seems a good match for the rest of the business I am putting together. As for a business plan, mine is at the bank right now. Dont know that it would help much because of the different attractions that are going in with the theater.
The licenses would only be for specific movies that Criterion has authorization to license. I would start with them. The sales rep I worked with was very helpful, her name is Anne Goodman and her email is
I have used an old 800x600 projector, projecting on a 12'x20' white tarp from nearly 30 feet away with an 800 lumens sharp projector with poor contrast. The screen was hanging from the garage (moving with every breeze) and the picture was good, not great, but as good as watching on an older big screen. From the demos I have seen, the quaility of the screens combined with a high end projector and a high end DVD will give me a picture that will be well worth the price for admission. As for the licensing, in Wisconsin, it is either a flat fee, usually around $200-$300 per showing, or a percentage, thats it. I have spoken with New Line cinemas as well and was given the same info. In fact, the sent me to Criterion as well. I plan on opening in June. However, I am not relying on income just from the theater. I have a video store, batting cages, a restaurant, laser tag, a golf simulator as well.
The quality of the DVD mini theater may not be to the level of a Marcus Theater, however, I know it is better then the movie screens I went to as a kid.
I was told that my license pertained to all 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight and Concorde-New Horizons.
35% was there normal rate. I probably could negotiate a better deal, but 35% seems fair enough. In Wisconsin, they can charge either a flat rate or a % of gross sales. As far as Virginia getting a cut, taxes are one thing you can deduct from gross sales before paying the license.
I got a 35% of gross sales as the deal. I let them know a week in advance which title I will be showing, then after the run, send them a report with the totals by price point, and a check. VERY simple. Part of the ease of this was there are no other requirement from the state of Wisconsin.
I am doing is showing new release DVDs in a small movie theater. I just spoke to Criterion pictures, I can pay a percentage of my gross take and that is the licensing fee! VERY simple compared to Swank. One issue though is they only handle FOX studio stuff and some other cult film stuff for theatrical showings. If you want more info, let me know.
I found a company called Swank Motion Pictures. Not sure if this is the only company that does this or are there others where you can “shop around' for a better rate. Apparently, you purchase a license for each movie you are going to play. The price of the license depends on the size of the audience, the size of the room you are showing it in, the movie shown and if you are going to charge a fee to watch it. The number I called is 800-876-5577. I just found the info a few minutes ago, so someone should still be there.
I have put together a business plan for a video store in my town. One of the things I would like to add is a small 25-30 person theater, basically a large home theater. I would be offering movies that are on DVD/VHS only. I have searched the internet and found very little, I have even contacted an lawyer and he wasnt much help either. What type of license, if any would this require? Does anyone have any info for me?