Budget Theater Questions - Semi Urgent

posted by jtoney7852 on November 30, 2006 at 4:55 am

I am trying to find out information to see if it is worthwhile to reopen a budget movie theater in my hometown. In this area we have about 100,000 people living in the city and we are a significant city in Louisiana. This theater is located on the main road of the city and is situated very close to a university.

About 2 weeks ago, this theater shut its door for business. It appears that the theater was being run into the ground and the person who was leasing the building(from out of state) didn’t really care. Now this theater is important because of where it’s located as well as its size. Compared to modern movie houses, the auditoriums are huge!

Now here are the cons of the place. Number one is the awful smell from when smoking was allowed in the building. Also the smell comes from poor upkeep of the carpet in all rooms. My goal will be to clean the curtains and replace carpet on the walls. The next problem is that the theater decided to stop working with the community on things. Bear in mind that they have been operating as a budget house for almost 15 years.

The competition in the city is 2 megaplexes(UA10 and Cinemark 14-located at mall). Both are first run theaters charging close to 8 bucks a show(in the evening). The cinema that I am looking at was only charging about 2 dollars per show(which I want to change to something like $1.50 all the time and special 50 cent showings).

I am also looking to add a small stage in the front of the largest auditorium for doing concerts which has sparked interest in many people.

So please give me your opinions and what you would do for this place. I think it is a steal, and it is a place that needs a little TLC to get back into shape. I have a lot of ideas and feel strongly about bringing this thing back to the area!

Comments (10)

bloosoda on November 30, 2006 at 8:10 am

You’d best have a bankroll to get started AND to keep you going for a long time…to allow you to survive what will surely be a rocky road to recovery, if this theatre has any chance at recovery!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 30, 2006 at 8:47 am

If you have to wait until the new theatres pull the film in order to play it, you will run into the DVD release competition.

Natalieland2006 on November 30, 2006 at 10:19 am

I do wish you the very best of luck on your theater purchase! Maybe you can talk to the university theater division for help. Preservation groups may be interested in your quest. There are grants you can apply for. Your theater may produce some revenue in advertising deals. Tour bus and coach companies may also help supply clients for live performances.

Happy Holidays!

William on November 30, 2006 at 11:51 am

For more answers to his question about this former UA tri-plex theatre.

View link

jtoney7852 on December 1, 2006 at 2:01 pm

It is not too bad, check out the somewhat bad pictures (camera wise) I took. Ill have video up shortly

santellie on December 1, 2006 at 3:56 pm

I would tap the city fathers and see there feelings and check see if there are any legal title issue’s especially abatement,I would also ask the local law enforcement for referance. Good Luck on your fixxer,as for carpets I would check with large hotel who are remolding usually there commercial grade carpets are a bargain,give away price, ok if still

jtoney7852 on December 1, 2006 at 4:09 pm

Well all carpets on floor have been replaced in past 6 months so they need a simple clean. however, the carpet on walls must be thrown. I am thinking of simple black outdoor carpet for this.

Let me also ask you this. I see where the profits have went down over the past few months. Do you think that after a major clean of the place (cause it is very nasty, smells horrible, and many complaints have been voiced over the condition) people would go? I know we are budget but come on we are next door to a college!

BPZ on December 4, 2006 at 2:10 pm


My name is Brandon Perry. I’m a general manager for Hollywood Theaters and have been in the movie industry for 10 years. I use to manage 2 old shut down UA 6 screens with slope floors. My theater is about to re-open in Beaumont, Tx on the 22nd of this month. I also ran a theater in Covington, La for 6 months. It’s a brand new 14 screen theater. I would like to help you with any questions you might have. My email address is

jtoney7852 on December 8, 2006 at 12:27 pm

Any idea what grants are available for those “For Profit” ventures? The SBA told me I couldnt apply for anything

allisonrandleman on January 5, 2007 at 7:19 am

One way to make a budget theater more profitable is to offer things that other theaters don’t.
An example of a very popular budget theater is the “Brew and View” in Asheville NC. It operates as a restaurant/pizza house, as well as a brew pub/bar. It is family friendly, and the food can be eaten either in the large lobby (now converted to dining area w/ bar), or inside the theater. They took out every other row of seating and put up a simple wooden plank table, running the length of each row.
This allows the moviegoers to eat and drink in comfort while watching the films. Although these kinds of transformations initially create more overhead, the profit has been steady and the popularity of the idea has made it a town favorite. It also solves the problem of vast amounts of space that may or may not be used as seating. If the theater feels vacant, it’s hard to create a sense of operational permanence. They also charge a bit more than the average dollar theater and people still pack it out. And who wouldn’t like to enjoy a nice slice of pizza and a beer while viewing a movie, rather than a $6 box of Junior Mints?—A. Randleman

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment