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1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 541 (525)

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition
1947-48 Theatre Catalog
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 541
Page 541

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 541

TABLE 2-Average seating capacity of United States theatres, with average number of potential patrons for each theatre and for each seat, based on the totals given in Table 1.

Average Number Number

Number of People of People

Seats to Each to Each Theatre Seat Northeast .......... ,, 796 8,715 11.0 South ...................... U 469 6,893 14.7 North Central .. 562 6,476 11.2 Mountain 442 4,218 95 Pacific 5,964 8.3 U. S. TOTAL .. 607 7,016 11.6

reader may form his own detailed appraisal.


Before launching into a discussion of the results of the extra-profits questionnaire, let us look a bit at the potential market, from the standpoint of the actual number of theatres and seating capacities in the five areas into which the basic data has been broken down. And all, of course, must be considered from the standpoint of population.

Basing the calculation of theatres and seating capacities on the data from the 1947 Film Daily Year Book and the population figures (as the latest official figures) from the 1940 census, as carried in the World Almanac for 1947, we find, from Table 1, that there are 18,765 operating theatres in the United States, with 11,393,660 seats, to serve a pepulation of 131,669,275. (The estimated population on January 1, 1946, was, however, 140,386,509, but this figure was not used because there was not available a state-bystate breakdown.)

Further statistical detail, culled from Table 2, shows that the average seating capacity is 607, and there are 7,016 potential customers for each theatre, and 11.6 patrons for each seat. It will be noted that, because the survey data is based on a number of theatres somewhat less than the grand total, the survey averages (compare Table 6) do not coincide with the national figures, but the order of the capacities in the five regions is the same.

While the present survey indicates an average seating capacity of 600 (compare Table 6), the national over-all figures, from Tables 1 and 2, result in an average of 607, attesting to representative nature of the sample from which the following data are taken. The substantiality of the basic report is further indicated that, while the 1947 Film Daily Year Book states that a given feature is presented 21/2 times a day, the present compilation (Table 4) indicates that the number of shows (which may be con sidered as synonymous with feature screenings) is 2.8.


In covering this extra-profits questionnaire and the data and conclusions from it, the general order of the questions will be followed, and the pertinent discussion continuing in the same section with the data.

The more general aspects of the sur 1947-48 THEATRE CATALOG

vey will be reserved for the section, Management Notes. Here, too, will be presented the exhibitor consensus as it may be judged for comments written on the returned form, comments that throw a clear light on the whole situation but which can hardly be reduced to mathematical averages and percentages.

In interpreting the results set forth below, it must be remembered that the figures refer only to the theatres that are actually selling one or more extraprofits items, and does not necessarily refiect the situation that would obtain were the total of all the theatres4selling and non-sellingeused as the base for calculations.

Type of Theatre

In the first two major questions of the extra-profits questionnaire, it was desired to obtain an idea whether or not such Selling was identified with a particular point in an areais clearance schedule, with theatres offering a certain number of shows a day, with theatres in business or residential areas, and with theatres of certain seating capacities.

At the very outset in the tabulation of these data, the matter of definition came to the fore, as will be clearly seen from Table 3, where the returns are shown analysed as to whether the particular theatre is first or subsequent run.

The survey, being conducted by a motion-picture trade paper, employed the terms nfirst run7 and itsubsequent run7 in more or less the distribution

TABLE 3-Percentages of theatres selling (94.4 percent of the grand total) and not selling (5.6 percentof the grand total) extra-profits items, classified as to first and subsequent run.

Theatres; . Theatres Selling Not SeIIing First Run Sub Run First Run Sub Run

Northeast .... .. 40.8 59.2 17.5 82.5 South ............. 77.0 23.0 80.0 20.0 North Central 65.8 34.2 66.7 33.3 Mountain , 96.5 3.5 100.0 0.0

Pacihc 51.7 48.3 33.3 66.7 U. s. TOTAL 60.4 39.6 47.3 52.7

sense, of theatres playing uout of the can" or subsequent thereto. The Virtual 60:40 ratio, therefore, cannot be accepted in this restricted sense, and it is apparent from the write-in remarks that the theatres took a broader View.

Since distribution is not wholly based on such key-city first-runs, and each area4even cities themselves-has subterritorial clearance schedules, the term ttfirst run in so-and-so'i has come into being. Accordingly, the theatres, making the most of what chances they get to show their position of eminence, do, with understandable pride, think of themselves as first run.

Despite this conflict in interpretation of terms, there Seems to be no clear-cut variance between extra-profits merchandising and the run a given theatre enjoys.

CANDY MACHINES, such as this pair in the Strand Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island, were the first extra profits equipment to be installed in theatres. With the advent of counters, their popularity has waned, but they still find service in more than 30 percent of the country's theatres, including some houses having attended counters. An eighth of the U. S. theatres have both sales means.
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 541