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Movies Businesses The Almighty Buck

A Subscription-Based Movie Theater 308

When the local movie theater in Oakhurst, California went out of business, residents were stuck without a way to watch films on the big screen without driving for at least an hour beforehand. Now, three men are trying to resurrect the theater with one major change: instead of relying solely on ticket sales, their business model revolves around subscriptions. From the article: 'They ran models of Nelson's subscription-based theater idea, showing that to break even they would need 3,000 people, or 15% of the mountain communities, to sign up. For $19.95 per month, a member would be able to see each movie one time and buy individual tickets for friends. Non-members could buy a $16 day pass. While researching the theater business, Nelson learned that studios are transitioning to digital distribution. Thousands of independent theaters that couldn't afford equipment upgrades have closed over the last 10 years, according to industry experts. Hundreds of others — which, like the Met, still show print films — remain on the brink. The subscription business model could pay for the new equipment.'
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A Subscription-Based Movie Theater

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  • Re:too expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sylak ( 1611137 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @09:28PM (#42446677)
    That's where most of the theatres actually make their money on first-week releases, though, because of how much goes to the studio in ticket revenue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @10:11PM (#42446925)

    I would tend to agree, but there are technical differences. A DCP (digital cinema package) is a frame sequence with a soundtrack. By contrast, a "video" signal contains blanking and sync information, which does not exist in D-cinema. So it isn't quite the same thing, but it still sucks compared to a good photochemical print.

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @11:03PM (#42447203) Homepage Journal
    This is club model. For a fixed fee you get to use the services of the club. Some will use the services a lot, some not so much. But because dues are collected monthly, fixed costs are piad.

    In the US, it is my understanding that most of the box office goes to the movie distributor. So if someone sees a opening weekend movie every weekend, I assume that would be the whole $20 to the studio, or even more. The article did say they would be paying studio based on viewership, and I have been told that studios do take most of the ticket sales for the the first weekend, So this model clearly depends on people not going to see very many movies. Yet is subscribers are nor going to movies, then one wonders if they will be subscribers

    Movie theaters are just restaurants that show movies. Sundance and Alamo has made that a formal setup. Theaters near formal restaurants have to fight to stay alive. If you want your theater to stay open, buy concessions. Yes it does suck to think the true cost of a movie is $25 per person, but that is what it costs. If it is too expensive, go to the Opera, where a ticket can often be $15, and there is no expectation to buy or consume refreshments.

  • Re:too expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @11:31PM (#42447391) Homepage Journal

    That experience has become less and less.
    As the size of the silver screen has gone down, the size and resolution of TV sets have gone up.

    When I was young, I loved to go to the movie theatre. The screen was a hefty 10x22 meters, or a little over 79' diagonal.
    At home we had a 20" TV - we couldn't afford the new huge 26" ones that had just came out.

    Nowadays, a typical movie theatre has a screen only a fraction of that size, while the standard TV size this holiday was 55".
    Your field of view is going to be filled about as much by your TV at home as the movie screen. And you probably have a better sound system than the utter miscalibrated crap they foist on people these days.
    Never mind that you and your friends can imbibe whatever you like. No crying children or idiots who left their cell phone on.

    Back in the old days, you also bought numbered seats, and knew that you and your friends would be able to sit together. Now, you have to gamble on that. Whoever runs fastest gets the best seats.

    The death of movie theatre going started for me back when LaserDiscs came out, and has continued as movies have become crappier and TVs better. I probably wouldn't go often even if it was free.
    Heck, a BD movie on my laptop gives me a more immersive experience.

    Let the movie theatres die. They had their time, which was great, but that time is over. Keep a few as living museums in the big cities, and let the rest go.
    I'll fondly remember them, but don't need them back any more than I need photo booths and telegrams.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @11:53PM (#42447543)

    According to a local theater owner I talked to, the push to digital is mostly forced on the theaters interested in showing older movies only available in digital since the 35mm disintegrate over time and making new ones are usually not cost effective. I could also see indie being similar in some cases, but he did not mention that. The pricing model might be different for older/indie films.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard