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How to Start a Movie Theater Business

Divya Bichu
Looking at the glam and glitz associated with movie theaters you might want to consider starting one. If you are wondering whether starting a movie theater business is easy? Read the entire story to find a sorted answer to your confusion.
Starting a movie theater business can be challenging and rewarding. Movies are one of the best sources of entertainment, and are popular amongst the young and old. With millions of patrons attending theaters each year, it can be a lucrative business, if you are planning to start one. However, there are plenty of important decisions to be made, and factors to consider, before starting a theater business.
There are two ways to actually start a movie theater, you can either start your independent movie theater, or consider being a franchisee of any large company like United Artists. While starting an independent movie theater is like building an empire from scratch; franchisee provides you with all the set up and you have manage it all.
Owing your own theater also gives you far better control over the business, but requires a lot of initial capital. Therefore, if you are planning to enter this field, you should consider becoming a franchisee instead of starting your independent one. Find in this story a few pointers that have to be considered while franchising your own theater business.

Pointers to Start a Movie Theater Business

  • Understanding the business plan is the essence of starting a movie theater. You have to make up your mind, whether you choose to own an independent theater or purchase a franchise. Of course you need everything in writing and well planned, because if you are plan to apply for a loan, a written plan is something that the banks will consider, else will not even entertain you.
  • When you opt for a franchisee, they have a few set rules, which you have to abide by. Each theater company has different set of rules governing the theater's operations, like what genre of moves will be screened, advertising issues and most importantly concessions around the theater.
  • The major advantage of being a franchisee is that the company secures the screening rights to films, whereas in case of independent theaters you have to register in for various tax identity numbers and obtain a valid theater license to screen movies.
  • Studying the market and examining your competition is another important aspect of your business strategy. Learning literally means getting to know the preferences of people and what kind of movies they usually prefer. When you start with your movie theater, there will be many competitors, well established, doing their own business. 
Get to know their strengths and weaknesses, and plan business strategies accordingly. Offering features that other theaters do not, will help you stand out in the competition. Of course since you are a franchisee, abide by the company rules and plan things accordingly.
  • Since, we are talking about becoming a franchisee you don't really have to worry about how much should you charge your clients and about the other policies. The company will send you in writing about its policies and other areas of concerns. All you have to do is just manage it all properly. Calculating the overheads, taxes and other expenses is an integral part of this business plan, so you cannot get rid of it.
  • Although you don't happen to be the real owner of the movie theater, you definitely are the virtual owner and will have put in efforts to advertise and attract customers to your movie theater. Advertising is not as easy as it seems. 
It includes maintaining a website, printing business cards and fliers, sending out press releases, running promotions in the most happening places in and around your movie theater. Offering special incentives to the first clients, organizing film festivals, daily deals and getting celebrities to visit your theater are a part of this business plan.
Once your business plan clicks, there is no other lucrative business than this. Because movies are loved by all, irrespective of the age and the genre of the movies. There are also a number of other things that have to be tackled in order to succeed, like the foyer area that contains food and drinks, its pricing and quality are issues to be considered. Piracy and crowd control are other issues that have to be looked into.
After you have set up a strong foundation, earned a reputation for yourself in this field and are making good money, you can consider starting your own independent movie theater business!