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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 57 (23)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 57
Page 57

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 57

lived its usefulness and will no doubt gradually disappear, it still comprises part of the over-all national average figure as to the number of available seats.

7. There is lack of coordination, understanding, and cooperation between production, distribution and exhibition. Efforts are now being made to overcome this, but in the interim period the results have been adverse to the exhibitors. One element here is the lack of proper and well-developed advertising on a sustained year-round basis. Up to this time advertising by production, distribution and exhibition has been sporadic and carried on at intervals, not on a regular basis to keep the public thoroughly advised as to the type of product. Also, little effort has been made to stimulate public interest in seeing pictures regularly although efforts are now being put in motion to correct this.


The motion picture theatres are today faced with keep competition for the amusement dollar of the American family. This has been mentioned briefly before but since this competition drastically affects the income of a theatre, it bears closer examination. These competitors will be found to be among the following:

1. Unquestionably television, particularly in the coaxial cable regions, is the greatest competitive factor. As to the exact extent of this com petition, various surveys widely. However, it is admitted that at least for the first six

months the television owner pays

close attention to the available programs. 2. Midget automobile races, more

night baseball games, professional football games, better dance halls and traveling name bands, skating rinks and better bowling alleys, are all taking an increasing percentage of the amusement dollar.

3. Continued development and overexpansion of many college and professional sports, such as basketball games, hockey and the like, are also keen competition.

4. Traveling orchestras like the Philadelphia and Boston symphony orchestras, and concert artists are increasing in popularity. These, too, compete for the attention of the amusement-minded public.

Other Factors

There are many other and diversified factors which must be studied in relation to their effect on the box office of the motion picture theatre. Here is a list of a few to indicate the scope of the elements which can and do affect income.

1. Economic conditions brought about by installment sales in many lines of hard goods, homes, automobiles, and so on, leave less money re 1952 THEATRE CATALOG

differ '

maining at the end of the month for amusements.

2. Many young families are held at home by young children and because of lack of domestic servants and the cost of baby sitters, turn to television, card games and similar home diversions, for their leisure time.

3. Ownership of cottages on rivers, at the seashore, in the mountains, take the family away for the weekend where formerly they remained at home and often patronized some form of amusement.

4. The rising cost of living, particularly of food and clothing, plus

the use of this type of entertainment will, in all probability, increase tremendously. Therefore, it may be said that in due course the modern theatre will be equipped with wide-Screen television which will be helpful and stimulating to the exhibition business.

The problem of the appraiser today is to have a full knowledge of what is going on in the industry, to follow the national figures of numbers of seats in relation to population, the number of attendance nationwide per week, and to be able to understand the numerous problemsemany of them quite complicatedethat will result in a profitable or unprofitable operation. Table III gives

Table III (Est.) 1933 1946 I 949 1950 1 Admissions to U. S. motion picture theatres (millions $) . . . . . . . . . . .. 482 1,512 1,342 1,210 2 Percentage of total U. 8. personal i consumption expenditures (%) . 1.04 1.03 0.75 0.68 3. Percentage of total U. S. recreation expenditures (%) ....21.92 16.92 13.18 12.85 4 Capital investment in theatres (millions $) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Not Available 2,604 2,882 2,932 5. Average annual earnings per full-time employee ($) . . . . . . . . ..1,891 2,978 2,916 3,035 6. Number of full-time equivalent employees (thousands) . . . . . . . . .. 119 228 226 218 7. Wages and salaries (millions $) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 225 679 659 663

higher taxes, leaves little surplus for amusement.

5. Unsettled world conditions and many uncertainties are proving harmful at the box office of movies and for most all types of amusement.


There is no doubt that the motion picture business will continue to live; that the better theatres-properly locatedewill continue to operate at a profit; that production and distribution will adapt itself and produce what the public really wishes to see; and that the present depression in receipts may well be at its lowest point and as time goes on and the pictures improve in quality, the attendance will also greatly increase.

The third dimension picture w to be shown on an entirely different type of screen*has been developed and is in the realm of possible use in the not too distant future. This will entail a large future capital investment on the part of production and exhibition not equaled since the advent of the "talkies."

It is also very well to bear in mind that there will probably be some marriage or technical hookup of the motion picture theatres with television, either by having a separate channel of their own or by having suihcient theatres wired for television to bid competitively for outstanding attractions on an exclusive theatre basis.

A comparatively few theatres are now using wide-screen television. As soon as appropriate programs become available,

some of the data that is important to theatre appraisers. It is this type of data that the appraiser should keep constantly before him.


The general feeling amongst those close to the motion picture industry is that fringe theatres, old theatres mostly worn out, and two theatres where only one can be expected to succeed, will have tough going in the future.

In summarizing, it can be stated that original cost, reproduction cost, depreciated cost have only a small bearing on motion picture theatre market value. The ability to generate gr05ses in this market is the most important single factor. The day of 15 percent to 20 percent rental on gross intake is gone. A rental of 10 percent of the gross is now considered normal and realistic. Theatre operators will soon be confronted with a capital outlay of $20,000 and up to install wide-screen television equipment and screen.

Theatres which are well constructed, with good parking facilities, amply capitalized, under good experienced management, will continue to serve a useful purpose and should show a reasonable profit on a carefully appraised market value.

Note: Statistical and factual data used in this article have been taken from the following 50Curesz U. S. Department of Commerce; "Motion Picture Industry Statistics" from Ymr Book 0/ Motion Pirturri, 1980 edition; and Tbe Film Daily.

Repvim of an airtirle entitled "New Influence: Afcrting the Appraual of Malian Picture T/u'atrei." whit/7 ap/Imred m The Appraiml journal. Vol. XIX, No. 4. Oriober, 195),.
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 57