At a Cinema Near You

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The Entertainment Industry (Cinema)
  strategies for sustainable local cinema development At a cinema near you Robin Baker, J. Ron Inglis, Julia Voss  Many people contributed in different waysto this guide and the authors are extremelygrateful to all of them. A special thanks goesto the managers and staff of the 8 case studyvenues who gave freely of their time andenergy and access to so much informationand wisdom. At a cinema near you strategies for sustainable local cinema development Acknowledgements:- Malcolm Allen (Arts Council of England) Jenny Allison(British Film Institute) Clare Binns (Zoo Cinemas), BenBlackman (Plaza Cinema, Crosby), Annette Bradford(Cinema Exhibitors’ Association), Richard Boyd ( bfi  ),Paul Brett ( bfi  ), Richard Brousson ( bfi  ) Chris Chandler(Film Council), Sue Clark (British Board of FilmClassification), Mark Cosgrove (Watershed Media Centre)Helen de Witt ( bfi  ), Catharine Des Forges ( bfi  ), SimonDuffy ( bfi  ) Janet Dunn (Plaza Cinema, Crosby), LouiseGardner (Watershed Media Centre), Jane Gerson(Southern Arts), Ann Griffiths ( bfi  ), Chris Halliday (PlazaCinema, Crosby) Nigel Hawkins (South Holland ArtsCentre), John Herron (Canal + Images (UK) Ltd),John Hodgkinson (Cinema, Crosby Plaza), Bob Horsley(Plaza Cinema, Crosby), Ken Ingles (EdinburghFilmhouse), Tony Jones (City Screen), Amrik Kerketta(English Heritage), Alan Knowles (Scottish Screen),David Litchfield (Cinema City), James McKenzie(Edinburgh Filmhouse) Lynn Morrison (Zoo Cinemas),Carol Miller (Zoo Cinemas), Zoë Naylor ( bfi  ), Amanda Nevill(National Museum of Film Photography and Television)Alastair Oatey (City Screen), Tom Olin, Lorna Partington( bfi  ), Bill Pearson, Dick Penny (Watershed Media Centre),Laura Phillips (Revolution Films), Belle Stennett (DomeCinema, Worthing), James Stennett (Dome Cinema,Worthing) Alex Stolz (City Screen), Brian Walters ( bfi  ), JonWebber (Curzon Cinema), Keith Welch ( bfi  ), John Wilkinson(CEA), Jo Wilson (South Holland Arts Centre)The authors have made every endeavour to ensurethe information in this guide is correct at the time ofgoing to press. However, in a rapidly changingeconomic, political and technical environment weadvise readers to check with individual organisationsfor up to the minute information, particularly thatrelating to funding and e-business.Please note that the information contained in thisbooklet is intended to provide a rough guide. Pleasedo not rely on any of the information provided andseek professional advice where necessary. The viewsexpressed are those of the authors and notnecessarily those of the organisations consulted.Copies of this guide are available on the bfi  ’s websiteand from the bfi  Exhibition Development Unit,Regional Arts Councils, Regional Screen Agencies andnational film bodies. This guide is also available inlarge print format on request.Front Cover: Harbour Lights, Southampton, at Dusk. Joe LowBack Cover: Worthing Dome. Kit BradshawISBN 0 85170 959 1© Copyright bfi 2002     P   s   y   c    h   o ,    C   o   u   r    t   e   s   y    U   n    i   v   e   r   s   a    l 1  Foreword 3 Introduction 4 Chapter 1 – Strategic choices 5On the back of an envelope5Market positioning6Full time versus part time cinema7Pure cinema versus mixed activity venues7Beyond film screenings7 Chapter 2 – Planningprocesses 8Timescale8Options appraisal8The business plan8Sensitivity analysis9Assessment of risk9 Chapter 3 – Understandingaudiences 10Different films, different people10Segmentation analysis10Establishing a catchment area11Demographic and lifestyle data11Field research12Audience development12 Chapter 4 – Organisation andconstitution 13Do you need a formal structure?13Setting up a limited company13Forming a charity14 Chapter 5 – Premises issues 15Finding suitable premises15The perils and pitfalls of leases15Planning consents16Listed Buildings16Licences17Building Regulations18 Chapter 6 – Building Design 19Briefing an architect19State of the art design20Number of auditoria20Seating capacity and space requirements21Sound issues21Catering and bar facilities21Access for people with disabilities22An illustrative specification23Other buildings issues23Digital cinemas24 Chapter 7 – Technical andequipment issues 25Screens25Projection facilities25Aspect ratios26Film formats26Archive prints26Video and digital26Sound27 Chapter 8 – Capitalisation 28Capital costing28Raising finance29 Chapter 9 – Economics ofoperation 32Income32Demand forecasting32Ticket pricing33Direct costs33Other costs (overheads)33 Chapter 10 – Operationalmatters 35Film Classification35The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association36Human resources issues36Staffing structure36Managing a campaign36Film Distributors37Programme booking37Running bars and catering37New methods of marketing39 Part II – Case Studies Chapter 11 – The Curzon, Clevedon41Chapter 12 – The Plaza, Crosby45Chapter 13 – The Watershed Bristol49Chapter 14 – Edinburgh Filmhouse53Chapter 15 – The Dome, Worthing57Chapter 16 – The South Holland Centre,Spalding61Chapter 17 – The Ritzy, Brixton65Chapter 18 – Harbour Lights Southampton69 Annexes 1 Sample Options Appraisal732 Sample Sensitivity Analysis753 Sample Risk Assessment764 Cinema Audience Research775 Sample Capital Costing78 Useful Contacts 79 Contents 2  Why are there so few decentcinemas? If you walked down the street and everyrestaurant was a McDonald’s you’d be frustrated.When you go out you want to decide if you wantto eat Italian or Chinese or Indian. Sometimesyou want to grab a sandwich, or a burger,sometimes you want to spend the whole eveningover a meal. It would be bizarre if every eveningyou went out you had to go to the same identikitburger bar serving bland mass produced foodwhere you sit on bright coloured plastic chairsunder neon lights with muzak playing in thebackground. Yet nine times out of ten people goto the cinematic equivalent. Why? If you listen to the pessimists in the industry it’sbecause that is what the public wants. Is that true?Twenty years ago the choice for eating out waspretty similar to the current situation forcinema. If you’d predicted the revolution in thatindustry people would have thought you weremad. And in most areas of entertainment similarchanges have taken place, whether you thinkabout bars or clubs or holidays or sports. But not in cinema. Everyone will tell you that people don’t want towatch European films, or independent films, orforeign films or serious films or unusual films.But imagine someone walking into Macdonaldsand seeing a curry on the menu (they dooccasionally try and promote ‘exotic’ specials).Would they want it ? No. That’s the equivalent ofsomeone having to drive to the edge of town,park in the lot, walk past the bowling alley andthe burger bar, buy the coke and the popcornand then sit down and watch a Lars Von Trierfilm or a Wong Kar Wai.So how do you create demand ? Ten years agopeople weren’t all walking around complainingthat you couldn’t get a decent crayfish androquette with miracle mayo sandwich anywhere.But now Prêt á Manger sells thousands of themevery lunch time. People are more likely to ordera cappuccino in a coffee bar or an Italianrestaurant than they are in a pub – especially if Foreword By Michael Winterbottom     S   a    f   e    t   y    l   a   s    t ,    C   o   u   r    t   e   s   y    b    f    i 3
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