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Opening a cinema step by step – Useful Tips, Guide and Organization

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How to Open a Cinema

Contrary to what we might think, there are various paths we could take if we want to open our own cinema, among which are corporate multiplexes, franchises, small cinemas operating in different parts of the city, a neighbourhood cinema as it is also known, drive-in cinemas, among others. However, the success lies in the popularity that it reaches and the strategies that we create to take it towards this objective.

See here the best entertainment businesses

One of the great advantages with this type of business is that we can give you the focus you want, for example, if you want to show independent films, commercial films, documentaries, etc., an endless amount of content that viewers expect.

To see how you can get started with this business, read on.

Start with your learning

If you are going to work in this business, it is very important that you have the necessary knowledge about it, so you should start training. Learn as much as you can about the world of cinema; outstanding films, genres, among others. To find these resources, you only need to review books, magazines, web pages and websites, databases on demographics, interview experts in the field, etc.

This learning process implies knowing the types of cinema, so it is convenient to study the general functioning of popular and independent cinemas, drive-in cinemas, replacement cinemas, etc.

Choose the type of cinema you want to open

There are different types of cinema, which you probably already analysed, as they are:

Independent cinemas: They show independent films, short and feature films, classic or cult films, films with few screens.

Popular cinemas: They screen the films that are in trend at the moment, which will be of different genres and often operate with a franchise.

Replacement cinemas: They screen films that have been shown in premiere cinemas only.

Drive-ins: Outdoor screenings with viewers who can watch from their vehicle with outdoor chairs. They generally show all kinds of films that invite couples, families or children.

How to Open a Cinema

Study the market

According to the area in which you want to set up, as well as the type of cinema you are interested in, start analyzing the market for it. Certainly you can make better use of towns or small cities that do not have as much cinema on offer, however, with special content and differentiating yourself from the competition, you could easily win customers anywhere.

Having determined the above, it is time to find out what your audience thinks. Start by asking the community about the movies they are most interested in and select a list of genres they might be open to watch, this way you expand your content offerings to include all types of audiences.

Get permissions and licenses

In each city and country there are a number of permits that govern business in general and this type of business specifically. Therefore, you will need to find out what regulations govern this sector in order to obtain the necessary operating permits. It is extremely important that the business is founded under the general operation rules so as not to have any kind of problems.

By this point you will have had to define a name for your cinema. Ideally, it should be easy to remember and pronounce, preferably short but very striking.

Equip your business

This is one of the fields that can most easily provide us with an approximate investment cost to give us an idea of how much we might need to finally launch the business. In this regard, the following points should be taken into account:

Place: According to the type of cinema you have chosen previously, you will have to look for a place where you can easily install the cinema. Whether you buy it or rent it, this space must be conditioned for the cinema to work there. Take into account the entrance facilities and the visibility of the place to attract the attention of the public.

Material: Also, depending on the size of the place you will need a series of equipment such as: projection systems, lighting systems, sound systems, decoration, chairs according to the capacity of the place and food area. Also, in some cases, you will have to pay license fees to be able to project the films.

Products: This type of activities is directly related to fast food and small snacks that we can enjoy during the performance, so it is convenient to make a list of the food and drink expenses that you are going to offer, which should be limited.

Staff: Even if you choose a neighborhood movie theater for a few people at each performance, you will need staff who can

take care of the food area, as well as the projection of the film, the entrance and exit, etc. This system is very convenient so that everything always works on the fly.

Promoting your cinema

You have finished with everything and it’s time to launch your business, so we will start planning the opening process and the previous publicity that you must do for it. For advertising, you can use various means to draw the public’s attention and make yourself known, such as flyers, ads, newspapers, radio, television, etc., the dimensions depend on the size of the cinema and the reach, for example, it will not be the same advertising for a franchised cinema as a neighbourhood cinema.

Requirements for Opening a Cinema

Appropriate commercial movement permits must be obtained, in addition to registering the company and declaring it to the regulatory body, which involves somewhat tedious and heavy bureaucratic procedures. Likewise, a specialist in the field of commercial registries can be hired to carry out this task without having to go through these complex problems, allowing you to devote yourself to other obligations and setting up the business correctly.

A large space must be available, probably to be built, so a significant amount of capital is needed for this investment with the different areas needed to be established such as different movie theatres with their convenient equipment to be able to operate.

Requirements for Opening a Cinema

Advantages of having a cinema

Cinema is very demanded in modern society, no city is complete without some cinemas, which makes it a very sought after business on a daily basis, and important profit margins can be perceived on a daily basis due to the important affluence that it has, besides, it is not necessary to establish much publicity, as soon as people start noticing the cinema they will come almost automatically, everybody wants to see the movies and the movie premieres, since, this is a developed and established culture nowadays.

Tips for starting a movie theater

Conditioning 3d movie theaters, this allows to receive even more customers, also you can charge a little higher amount at the entrance due to the service, on the other hand, you can condition the rooms with surround sound, HD technology and other features that allow users to have an interesting experience.

Offer a space with candy and coffees sales, trying to compete with stores or sales of this type, establishing more economical prices, which can move their edible inventory, looking for a monopoly on the sale of them.

Also, it is advisable to offer drinks by the glass and to acquire some vending machines, everything depends on the projection and distribution that you want to give to the business, the most common form is to have a space dedicated to prepare and sell everything, using the system of drinks served in glass with right to recharge.

Success stories 

Cine Capitol is a successful company because in its cinemas you can enjoy the best premieres in comfortable, well air-conditioned spaces and with an interesting line-up to suit all tastes.

The Renoir Cinemas are also successful in the sector because the films they usually show are more alternative, promoting auteur cinema and cult films, although the public can also enjoy some more commercial films, being one of the best places to choose for fans of the seventh art.

Problems that may arise 

During its construction it can take more capital than calculated, which can generate stress, because during the establishment project many setbacks can arise, in addition the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for the cinema is expensive and somewhat difficult to acquire, which probably forces you to seek to export the equipment.

You must establish contacts that are somewhat complicated to achieve as the supply of the newest films, before they reach the television, so you must have patience while you get the accreditation to receive the copy of the film or appear on the list of cinemas that will receive this service.

Problems that can appear: A clear challenge for this type of business at a general level, is the competition with the Internet, since already on the web it is possible to find movies of all kinds for all audiences, so many prefer just to turn on the computer to watch a movie from the comfort of their homes rather than go out, pay and watch the movie elsewhere. However, not everything is lost, because with a variety of films, releases or not easily found on the web, we can have a great opportunity, also, if we add to this discounts, food, themes, etc, we increase our opportunity considerably.

Final recommendation: We know that this is not the type of business that everyone will enter the days all the time, so it will be necessary that, if we want to obtain better incomes and make this idea a profitable business, we look for other sources of income with the same space. These include: renting the cinema for other events, proposing a subscription model, adding on-screen advertising, etc.