More Movie Money Management

Published by patrick honner on

I saw a movie last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).  BAM shows a few movies every day–some new and some old–but it’s not their primary means of generating revenue.  Presumably that comes from local and national funding, private donations, and the like.

So how much money do they make showing movies?  Well, last night’s movie was sold out, making it easy to estimate how many tickets were sold:  11 rows x 14 seats per row = 154 seats.  The rows in the back might have had an extra seat, so let’s call it 160.  At $12 a ticket, that’s $1920 in ticket sales.  Concessions are a big winner for movie theaters–a quick search suggests that a $3 concession per capita rate is appropriate, so let’s assume that the theater generates an additional $3 X 160 = $480 in concessions.  So that’s $2400 in total revenue for what is probably the busiest showing of the week (Saturday night).

What are BAM’s costs?   Well, they have to pay to show the movie (I don’t know if this is a flat fee, a per-showing fee, a per-viewer fee)’; they must pay employees (sales, ushers, concessions, security, projectionists, janitors); and they probably lose a cut to on-line ticket brokers.   Doesn’t seem like a high rate-of-return to me, especially when they only show a couple of movies per day.

One thing is for sure:  there are people out there who are very happy that they are still generating revenue by selling the rights to show a 50-year-old movie (“Charade”) in theaters.  That’s the business to be in.

Categories: Economics

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York


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