Little Guys Fight To Survive In Big-Screen Business

By RonNell Andersen-Jones, Staff Writer
Deseret News, 25 July 1993, page M1

Article Summary:

Small family-run theaters come up with new ways to keep customers coming, as big regional and national chains push into the discount market with huge multi-screen theaters. Benefits of showing only sub-run films include low advertising costs, option for double features, and freedom to carefully select films with strong family themes.

Kaysville Theater

  • Bill Call, owner and operator
  • switched from first-run to second-run 15 years ago, because “they found they could make a lot more by charging a lot less”
  • Bill Call and his wife visited a dollar theater and saw a “sold out” sign and long lines for the next show. “And I thought, holy mackerel, we've never even sold out on a Friday night. After that, there were a lot of us who went to discounting to survive.” (Bill Call, Kaysville Theater)

Murray Theater

  • Tom Henderson, owner and operator
  • hosts summer matinees for children in conjunction with the Murray PTA, letting parents and teachers select the films
  • “Mostly the customers we have in our theater are families, and we try to cater to the families.” (Tom Henderson)
  • “We're building a real good repeat clientele of families and that's what will let his theater survive.” (Tom Henderson)
  • “We thing we do some things a big theater doesn't do very well. When you come here, there's a good chance I'll sell you the popcorn and my wife will sell you the ticket." (Tom Henderson)

Avalon Theater

  • Art Proctor, owner and operator for 30 years
  • found his way to survive by showing old films
  • “We play the old classics and have a clientele that like them. They don't want to be insulted by all the trash in the movies and I like to present good entertainment and feel good about it when I go home.” (Art Proctor)
  • a few weeks ago, Proctor hired a hypnotist to perform each Saturday night