We recently screened the Mariinsky Ballet’s Nutcracker at Hoylake Community Cinema. What a wonderful event it was…
Behind the scenes it takes a team of volunteers many hours of preparation for every screening… and since each event costs upwards of £500 to put on we need to make sure that we make it work.
Normally the license fee for screening a film is 35% of door takings. For the Nutcracker it was a whopping 50% (plus VAT).
More than that, the licensing body also set the ticket price – £10.00 – double our normal entrance fee.
It’s Christmas you see.
So when we talk about The Beacon project, we already have a good idea what the £££ picture is.
A commercial operator can’t rely on volunteers to do all that hard work.
As well as fitting out the cinema, they will need to splash out on some very expensive kit. And keep it all up to date and maintained and clean and looking shiny new.
And pay salaries and and Pensions and Tax and fuel bills and maintenance contracts and accountants and …
It’s beginning to look a little dodgy.
Or is it?
At Hoylake Community Cinema we crunch the numbers just like anyone running regular expensive events will do. So we choose the booze and price it carefully… we time things to maximise spend in the bar, we agonsise over the cost of ingredients for the home made food… but maintaining a quality and experience high enough across the board to ensure people will come back again… and again.
We may be volunteers … but it is a very tight ship.
Cinema operators are much better at this than us… they need to be. They have shareholders that want a good return on their investment. And they have all those costs… eye watering stuff.
But, with ad revenue, bistro revenue, passing trade using the café, facility hire for private and corporate events, the numbers will stack up if the footfall is there.
Build it and they will come.
Well, idealistic perhaps, but there is some truth in that.
It will take a pioneer, a risk taker.
But, with public support, anyone providing a service that is so wanted, so needed, and doing it well, will surely reap the rewards. The rewards won’t be huge, but this is a ‘pilot’ for the ‘screen nine’ concept. If it works here, and we are confident it will, it could work elsewhere, and we could see single screens popping up around the country operated on the same basis.
Scaling up those small rewards to a national level starts to look quite attractive doesn’t it?
And more than that, children in small, rural towns everywhere could end up watching The Nutcracker at the end of their road. And their Christmases will be made just as magical as it was for the kids who came to Hoylake Community Cinema last weekend.