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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Rave Buys 29 Theatres From National Amusements (Page 2)

 
This topic comprises 6 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6 
 
Author Topic: Rave Buys 29 Theatres From National Amusements
Chris Utley
Senior Member

Posts: 631
From: Torrance, CA
Registered: May 2003


 - posted December 24, 2009 08:36 AM      Profile for Chris Utley   Author's Homepage   Email Chris Utley         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Being the guy who is responsible for theatre on a day-to-day basis, I'll give you three answers, in order from least important to most...

3) Because we know what we have planned for the complex.
2) Because, whether anyone likes it or not, the Beverly Center complex is a part of American movie theatre history.

And the most important reason...

1) Because our regular paying customers, the ones who live in the area and have seen the theatre through the best of time and the worst of times, like what we are doing at the Beverly Center and are supportive of our efforts to make it a viable location again.

Toche'!

Mr. Havens, you have my utmost respect! My film club will be in touch with you soon about scheduling some events at your theatre. Best of luck with your efforts! [bow down]

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Edward Havens
New Member

Posts: 50
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted December 24, 2009 10:06 AM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens         Edit/Delete Post 
Mark, for a variety of reasons, I cannot get too specific about certain things, but I will answer what I can.

Most of the changes to the theatre so far have been cosmetic. We have taken out a few additional seats out of each of the downstairs theatres in order to have better seating options for our disabled patrons. Up until a couple months ago, the only space made available for for handicap seating was literally right up against the screen. We've replaced old box office and concession signage with digital monitors. We've repaired all of the broken fluorescent lights. Things of that nature.

We've also refurbished a number of the speaker amps. For example, if you had come to see a movie in Theatre 7 before we came in, you would have sound coming from only the right channel, because one of the amps for that theatre was completely busted and the other one was only half dead. We've also repaired all the platters and even replaced one of the projectors, which had been run in to the ground.

We've spent more time and money on repairs in the past four months than this theatre had gotten in the past several years. And there is a lot more to come.

If you go back in time and research the early history of the Beverly Center 13, you'd discover it started with a mix of arthouse, independent, foreign and second-run product, and that's where I hope we can be again. And yes, we have thinking about our options concerning food and drink, about stadium and VIP seating, about a new concessions area and much more. But I have to get to the theatre right now, so I'll try to add some more later.

The Beverly Center 13 has a long long way to go to become a great theatre again. We know that. We accept the challenge.

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Christopher Crouch
Member

Posts: 292
From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted December 27, 2009 04:44 AM      Profile for Christopher Crouch   Email Christopher Crouch         Edit/Delete Post 
The Beverly Center theatre has plenty of potential. Even the smallest auditoriums could easily be remodeled/remarketed in to "VIP screening lounges" with changes as modest as luxury seating upgrades. The only problamatic issue I see is the interior mall location. As with countless mall cinemas, changing consumer trends have resulted in, what was once a major drawing point, become a fatal flaw. None the less, it's nice to see that Rave isn't going to just "sit on" the Beverly Center, as Mann did.

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted January 04, 2010 09:59 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Edward -- would you be able to provide me with contact information for somebody at RAVE who could authorize cinematour to visit their locations for photos?

I'd love to be able to get into some of these theatres and take before pictures so there will be documentation of the transformations I'm sure they'll be making to the National Amusement Theatres they take over. In addition, I've been past a number of RMP's throughout the country and it'd be nice to be able to have photos other than exterior photos.

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Edward Havens
New Member

Posts: 50
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted January 08, 2010 11:24 AM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens         Edit/Delete Post 
I'll have to find out who that is. Please email me and as soon as I get an answer, I'll let you know. It's my first initial and my last name (one "word," no dashes or dots) at ravemotionpictures dot com

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Edward Havens
New Member

Posts: 50
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted January 13, 2010 01:04 PM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens         Edit/Delete Post 
Also, we installed a Real D system in #2 yesterday, and we'll be bringing in Up in 3D for at least a week starting Friday.

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John Robert
Member

Posts: 135
From: Addison, TX
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted January 18, 2010 03:35 PM      Profile for John Robert   Email John Robert         Edit/Delete Post 
Further articles:

L.A. Times article

quote:
Rave theater chain is no longer a bit player

The company led by CEO Tom Stephenson is now the nation's fifth-largest chain, after buying theaters controlled by the Redstone family.

By Richard Verrier
January 18, 2010

A decade ago, Tom Stephenson opened a 16-screen theater in Montgomery, Ala., with a brash plan: build a national chain from scratch, one that would siphon business from the major circuits by offering the latest amenities in stadium seating, digital sound, silver-screen-size broadcasts of sporting events and opera.

Stephenson recently took a big step toward reaching his goal when his Dallas-based Rave Cinemas emerged as the unlikely buyer of as many as 35 theaters owned by National Amusements Inc., the theater circuit owned by media mogul Sumner Redstone's family.

For Redstone and his daughter, Shari, who runs the chain, the deal helped pay down the company's debt.

For Stephenson, the deal catapults him from a second-tier operator into the big leagues of national theater chains. Rave is now the No. 5 circuit in the country, operating 65 theaters and about 1,000 screens in 20 states, more than doubling its size.

At a time when movie theaters are no longer considered a high-growth business, Stephenson is making a contrarian bet -- at least in the midterm -- that people will continue to trek to theaters for a movie rather than nesting at home and watching it on their big-screen, high-definition TVs.

"If you can buy attractive theaters today at reasonable prices, you have a chance to create a lot of value over the next three years," Stephenson said. "We see terrific upside in this business."

He may be on to something. Movie theater attendance, which peaked in 2002 and remains close to what it was a decade ago, had a surprising uptick last year as filmgoers flocked to the multiplex to see 3-D blockbusters such as "Avatar" and "Up." The number of people in the U.S. and Canada purchasing tickets popped up 6% in 2009 and sales -- helped by higher prices for 3-D films -- reached a new record, climbing to $10.6 billion.

"It's probably a decent time to make an acquisition given . . . the potential of digital [technology] and the durability of the business," said Matthew Harrigan, a media industry analyst at Wunderlich Securities.

Others agree. Stephenson assembled a group of investors to bankroll Rave. His principal financial backer is TowerBrook Capital Partners, a New York investment firm that owns the alcoholic beverage superstore BevMo. Other investors include veteran theater executive Charles B. Moss Jr. and Lambert Media Group, an investment firm headed by former Fox TV executive Michael Lambert.

"I was just so impressed with [Stephenson's] aggressive and innovative approach to what has largely been a sleepy sector of the media mix," Lambert said.

Stephenson declined to disclose most financial details of Rave's operations but said ticket sales at the company's theaters totaled nearly $300 million last year, up from $84 million in 2005.

Rave's acquisition of the National Amusements theaters marks the latest consolidation in the exhibition industry, following AMC Entertainment Inc.'s purchase of Loews Cineplex Entertainment in 2006 and Regal Entertainment Group's acquisition of Consolidated Theatres in 2008.

But more recently the market for movie theaters has slowed. The credit crunch dried up financing for interested buyers. Potential backers viewed the business as a mature one. And major circuits were cautious about repeating the mistake in the 1990s of over-building that led to a glut of screens located too close to one another.

All that is behind now, Stephenson believes. Theater operators such as Rave are poised to benefit from the trend toward 3-D movies, he said, noting that his chain was among the first to outfit all its theaters with digital technology that made 3-D projection possible long before it became Hollywood's newest fad. Stephenson has openly needled his colleagues at trade shows for being slow to embrace the new digital technology, which eliminates the costly process of developing and distributing film prints.

"They converted fully and immediately and they were the first to do so," said Bud Mayo, chairman and chief executive of Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp., the Morristown, N.J., company that supplied the digital equipment to Rave and helped finance its digital conversion. "It was really a milestone."

The 55-year-old, Nashville-raised Stephenson flirted with a political career -- he worked as a campaign director for Howard Baker, the Republican former Senate majority leader from Tennessee -- before pursuing his MBA at the University of Virginia and afterward working at Merrill Lynch.

Rave actually represents Stephenson's second move into the exhibition business. The first time didn't go so well. In 1995, he left a real estate investment company he founded to run Hollywood Theaters, a regional circuit based in Dallas. The chain expanded rapidly over the next several years. But heavy debt and competition from larger operators forced the company's sale in 1999 to avoid bankruptcy.

Undeterred, Stephenson launched Rave in 1999, taking into account the lessons learned from his former company.

His strategy this time: open new theaters rather than mainly buying existing ones, and equip them with the latest features -- airy, 40-foot-high ceilings in lobbies, popular stadium seating that provides unobstructed views with 4 feet of legroom between rows and expanded concession areas. Rave theaters typically have 16 to 20 concession lines -- double the norm -- making up for the higher staffing costs through higher sales of popcorn, soda and candy, Stephenson said.

"Nobody wants to wait in line to buy a Coke," he said.

And while most national circuits now centralize movie bookings, Stephenson has pushed those decisions down the line, giving local managers wide latitude in determining when, and on how many screens, to show the films.

Everyone in the organization, no matter how lowly, gets a say in how to improve service. After complaints about teenagers texting one another during shows became endemic at a theater in Alabama, workers there suggested that ticket collectors remind patrons to turn off their phones before entering the theater. The solution worked so well that Rave introduced the practice throughout all its theaters.

And instead of trying to compete head-to-head with large chains in big cities, Stephenson adopted the Wal-Mart approach: target outlying areas in underserved smaller markets in the South and Midwest, including Ft. Wayne, Ind., Baton Rouge, La., and Peoria, Ill., where older, run-down theaters are often the only option moviegoers have.

"He has been able to move around the country freely, finding these locations and moving into competitive environments where there were no modern amenities and taking a major share of the marketplace," said Dan Fellman, president of theatrical distribution for Warner Bros.

Stephenson has also pushed his theaters to offer live concert and sporting events, a new revenue source that some operators are adopting. Rave theaters showed live broadcasts of the final Bowl Championship Series football game last year, selling out in nine of its 18 locations, and offering catered wine and beer services.

"For the first time, we're not just movie boxes, we really are entertainment boxes, whether it's watching football or the opera," Stephenson said.

=======================================================

Dallas Observer blog posting

quote:
Raves for Dallas-Based Rave Theater Chain

By Robert Wilonsky
in Business News for People Who Don't Read Business News, From the RTF Department
Mon., Jan. 18 2010 @ 9:17AM

​Our pal Allison V. Smith has a rather nice photo in this morning's Los Angeles Times: a portrait of Thomas W. Stephenson Jr., whose Rave Motion Pictures is on the fast-track to becoming the fifth-largest movie-theater chain in the U.S. once Rave's acquisition of 35 theaters from Sumner Redstone's National Amusements Inc. is a done deal. Question is: Why is Stephenson, whose company HQs near Turtle Creek, snapping up 500 screens of Sumner (or something close to that) at a time when many consider the theater biz a dying model replaced by couches in front of high-def teevees? Mmmmm, 'cause it isn't? Especially if your theater chain is the only one fully equipped with the 3D, as Rave is from top to bottom, and James Cameron keeps making Avatars:

"They converted fully and immediately and they were the first to do so," said Bud Mayo, chairman and chief executive of Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp., the Morristown, N.J., company that supplied the digital equipment to Rave and helped finance its digital conversion. "It was really a milestone."

Just remember: You wanna Rave locally, you'll need to head to Hickory Creek or Hurst -- that's what you call "the Wal-Mart approach."


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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted January 19, 2010 10:06 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Well that answers a lot of questions I had about RAVE. With the way they built their theatres (identical to one another) I thought they were just some company with one blueprint that wanted to build up a bunch of theatres then sell them to a major chain.

Knowing now that the CEO was the guy that started Hollywood Theatres makes me a little more excited to follow and support their growth since they're not as likely to disappear tomorrow.

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Roger Katz
Member

Posts: 339
From: Thomaston, CT
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted January 19, 2010 01:46 PM      Profile for Roger Katz   Email Roger Katz         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Rave theaters typically have 16 to 20 concession lines -- double the norm -- making up for the higher staffing costs through higher sales of popcorn, soda and candy
16 to 20 concession lines??!?! And how is that twice the norm. I'd say most multiplexes (at least around here) have two concessions lines open during peak hours and one at other times.

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Danny Baldwin
Member

Posts: 130
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted January 30, 2010 11:07 PM      Profile for Danny Baldwin   Author's Homepage   Email Danny Baldwin         Edit/Delete Post 
Hey Havens-- Is the first movie read (by you?) on the showtimes recording always the one playing in the big theater? I've noticed that the second one is definitely Theater 2, so I'm inferring it is. Just wanted to know for future reference. If so, is "The Hurt Locker" still running THAT well? I know the area's concentrated with Academy/Guild members who want to see it for awards and such, but being out on DVD I'm amazed.

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Edward Havens
New Member

Posts: 50
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted January 31, 2010 03:33 AM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens         Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, Danny... and not necessarily so. [Razz]

When I make the recording, on Thursday nights, I read the films off in order of the theatre they are playing in, from 1 to 13. So you can usually infer that the first two titles are playing upstairs. But during the week, I can and will move films around based on need.

Now that we have our own ad in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you can always know what's in the big houses by looking for the Balcony Seating logo in the ad.

As for Hurt Locker, I have it up in #1 because I believe it looks damn good up there on that big screen. Depending on my bookings this week and the number of nominations it receives, I may ask to get the digital print of Hurt Locker back up in #2 once Horrorfest leaves Thursday night, because Hurt Locker looks and sounds incredible in the digital house.

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Chris Utley
Senior Member

Posts: 631
From: Torrance, CA
Registered: May 2003


 - posted February 02, 2010 09:58 AM      Profile for Chris Utley   Author's Homepage   Email Chris Utley         Edit/Delete Post 
Edward, please let me/us know when you move "Hurt Locker" to your large auditoriums. In light of it's Best Picture nomination, my film club will be gathering to see the film at Beverly Center in the next 2-3 weeks. Thanks!

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Danny Baldwin
Member

Posts: 130
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted February 02, 2010 02:09 PM      Profile for Danny Baldwin   Author's Homepage   Email Danny Baldwin         Edit/Delete Post 
It's in the biggest auditorium right now (#1). He was saying above that he may move it to #2, the second largest, because it's the DLP auditorium.

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Edward Havens
New Member

Posts: 50
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Registered: Oct 2009


 - posted February 03, 2010 09:30 AM      Profile for Edward Havens   Email Edward Havens         Edit/Delete Post 
The Hurt Locker has been in the #1 house for a couple weeks now, and will continue to run in there until at least the 11th. We're going to be putting The Blind Side in the digital house starting Friday.

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Chris Utley
Senior Member

Posts: 631
From: Torrance, CA
Registered: May 2003


 - posted February 03, 2010 03:40 PM      Profile for Chris Utley   Author's Homepage   Email Chris Utley         Edit/Delete Post 
We're coming on the 15th (Presidents Day). Hopefully you can stretch it out a lil while longer.

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