Dear Marcus Corp.

March 27, 2008 at 1:41pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Now that it’s official that Douglas Theatres has been purchased by Marcus Corporation of Milwaukee, I’m curious to see where this takes us. I don’t expect any immediate changes, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that over the next three years Lincoln’s theaters will evolve a bit. I think the three biggest questions right now are:

  1. Will we see a new second-run theater?
  2. Will north Lincoln finally get a theater?
  3. Will Lincoln relax its rules governing the size and placement of theaters, thus inviting competition?

What questions do you have for Marcus at this point? If you could give them advice about operating theaters in Lincoln, what would you say?

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The Comments

Fletch March 27, 2008 at 2:21pm

Based on looking at their web site and a couple of theater listings, their prices seem about $.75-$1.00 less per movie. Will they be lowering prices?

Have they given thought to following the lead of McDonalds, et al, and offering true “combo” or “extra value” pricing? If an adult-sized popcorn is $3.00 (coughcough *gouge* coughcough), and a large drink is $3.00 (cough *more gouge* coughcough), why not make a $5 dollar combo for both?

Or instead of ripping me off for $2-3 for some candy, why not do an add-on of a candy for $1 with any other purchase at the concession stand? Volume, volume, volume.

How about cheaper matinee prices, or a special on Tuesday or Wednesday where for like $7 you can get an admission, a drink, and some popcorn?  You know, like how tacos are cheaper on Taco Tuesday, or how you get double coupons on certain days at certain stores.

Why not fill up the space in down times, and sell more concessions, and at the same time give people some value. Look at Godfathers - a large 1-topping pizza is about $14 at regular price, give or take. On Monday and Tuesday (which I am sure used to be dead), you can get a large pepperoni or cheese pizze for $5.50. The place is now PACKED and the take-out orders are piled high. You could take this same idea to the theater for cheapskates like me.

I’ve rambled enough, but I think you get the idea.

Swid March 27, 2008 at 3:12pm

I’ve learned from friends who live in Fargo that Marcus also pulls stunts like this from time to time. :-(

Fletch March 27, 2008 at 3:28pm

Okay, that blows. When one company controls all the screens in town, we can’t have those kinds of things crop up. Swid, I used to live in Farge myself. I noticed on the Marcus site that they own the old Safari theater in Moorhead, and it appears to be a “dollar” ($1.75) theater. That’s where I say “Empire Strikes Back” for the first time.

Fletch March 27, 2008 at 3:30pm

say, saw… whatever. That’s where I saw Empire, and many other films. The theater had funky animal print themes. I liked it.

Gene March 27, 2008 at 4:07pm

Those are all great ideas.

CS March 27, 2008 at 4:31pm

On the other hand, if the distributor and movie company/production company wanted a rider on the number of showings guaranteed before allowing them to get the print, I say good. Agreements like that are what kept Star Wars Revenge of The Bleccchhh in the theaters long after people stopped seeing it.

Mr. Wilson March 27, 2008 at 4:36pm

After the first weekend, that is.

CS March 27, 2008 at 4:45pm

My wife has a vested interest in this as an Asst. Mgr. at the Grand. Ill keep everyone posted on what she hears, since its public now. She’s not sweating too much since line staff and Asst. Mgrs. are pretty low on the pole, but I’ll bet the GM’s are pacing a little bit if upper Mgt. is going their own way (according to Marcus). COuld be a good thing-there are some GM’s that fly a bit on their own based on their longevity within Douglas. (opinion mine)

swoof March 27, 2008 at 6:25pm

There are some AMC complexes that let you buy a day pass to every theater along with free refills of popcorn and soda.  That would be an entertaining way to blow a Saturday or Sunday every so often.

Fletch March 27, 2008 at 6:37pm

I don’t condone anything the movie studios impose. The industry track record speaks for itself. They keep releasing garbage (for the most part) films, not as many people are going (but the price keeps going up, so the industry touts its growth), and the people that are going complain about the noise, the quality of picture, idiots with cell phones, etc.

My point is that in a city this size, my expectation is we should have the chance to see every movie that goes into wide release (Not all the Ross movies, etc.). The fact the studios hold the theaters hostage is part of why we pay $6.50 to enjoy a drink and some popcorn.

CS March 27, 2008 at 7:20pm

What I meant to say is that GOOD for Marcus for standing up to the distributor, if the distributor’s requirements for the contract were unrealistic (if that’s what happend). I don’t like the riders either-ive heard of enough of them from my wife at this theater and at another one in Blair that she used to asst. manage in the late 90s. This pre-release hype generated by forcing a limited release, penalizing theater owners by saying “You’ll get the print if you guarantee X showings no matter what” is BS. Really draconian, some of the riders, and sometimes companies will send along a rent a police officer during prescreen showings or have reps in the audience standing up taking not so discreet head counts during the showing. Its distracting and quite frankly insulting. If their movies didn’t suck they wouldn’t have a problem with attendance. I very rarely have a sense of wonder anymore at the theater-Titanic was one of them, because of the detail in the ship, but there have been very few ET’s or Close Encounter’s in the last several years.

JackM March 27, 2008 at 7:39pm

Guys—I certainly don’t mean to turn the comments section here into a billboard—it’s been a while since I’ve contributed—but given the content of the thread, I thought I should mention that we’ll be talking to the people from Marcus on the KLIN morning show Monday at 7:35ish.

Mr. Wilson March 27, 2008 at 7:47pm

Let’s see, at the rate of $10/word, 50 words, that advertisement will cost you $500. You can send the payment to ...

I kid! I kid! wink

Jad March 28, 2008 at 3:06am

Please add an IMAX that shows movies, not just documentaries.

Fletch March 28, 2008 at 12:54pm

Jack, great to have you on the boards here at Lincolnite! Love the show!

Jax March 30, 2008 at 1:04am

I would like to see staggered start times for movies that are showing at multiple theaters, so if I just miss getting in at one theater, I have enough time to drive to another. I would love to see movies once again scheduled to start between 5:15 - 5:45 during the week so people can catch a movie right after work.

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