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The Passing of a Truly American Pastime

For more years than any of us can remember we have enjoyed the option of taking a short break from reality by going to one of the thousands of movie theatres that reside in most small towns across the US. Television and home theatres try to mimic the theatre experience by providing entertainment that rivals the theatre, but we all know nothing is the same as seeing a good movie, on a giant screen, with sound that envelops your very being. Theatres have always survived the on slot of economic woes because they have remained the most enjoyable cost effective way for us to get out and enjoy a night away from everything with family and friends.

In the past 50 years we have seen a change in the movie industry that has led to the construction of giant movie complexes (multiplexes) with many screens, housed in smaller rooms with stadium seating. This change allowed theatres to accommodate more patrons in smaller spaces under the guise that the experience was better while in reality it was just more cost effective. Theatres have been forced to raise concession prices to generate more revenue, which drives patrons to bring their own snacks leading ultimately to lower revenues for the theatre. Ticket prices have gone up, most recently because of the reintroduction of 3D movies. Small town theatres with 3D capabilities are forced to play 3D movies, which drives patrons to other theatres that can offer a choice. Most people know, or should know that theatres see a very small percentage of ticket revenues and even less because of 3D. In more recent years the video industry has taken its toll on the movie theatres by siphoning off movie patrons, but through all this, theatres have still survived by cutting costs. Discount movie rentals such as Red Boxes, or Internet Streaming Video have all but wiped out the video rental industry and are now threatening theatres yet again. Will the small town theatres survive?

Within the next 18 months movie theatres have yet another hurdle to jump. Any movie theatre that has not been able to move from the traditional 35mm format to digital format will be forced out of business, because Hollywood will no longer be producing movies on film in this country. This move of course has its advantages. Digital projection provides the movie enthusiast the best picture quality, and gives the theatre the ability to multitask into other events that can be brought in electronically. The downside to this required conversion is the cost. Many if not all small town theatres will not make this conversion because the cost is very prohibitive. How prohibitive you might ask? The cost of the conversion is expected to exceed the real estate value of the theatre itself, which means most small town theatres will double their mortgage in one move just trying to stay in business while attempting to keep theatres in small town USA.

The Avon & Ideal theatres made this move during the summer of 2010 so that we could provide the very best picture and sound experience for Heber Valley and the Wasatch County. We made the decision to move in this direction so as to try and maintain theatres in Heber, and attract patrons that were going out of town to see movies in other theatres. We understand that in this economy people are struggling to maintain just the necessities, but we also understand that business do not survive without a certain number of patrons.  If you have ever been to the Avon or Ideal theatres you will have noticed right away that our concession prices are at least 30% less than any first run movie theatre within 20 miles of Heber, and that our ticket prices are always lower than those same theatres. We would like to help those of you who are struggling in this economy by doing something that does not happen often in the movie industry. Starting August 26th we will lower our ticket prices, and begin offering two show times in both the Avon and Ideal each evening on week nights. The Ideal will still start at 6:30pm regular time, but the Avon 1st show time will change from 7:30pm to 7:00pm. It is our hope with your help that we can continue to provide the Heber Valley and Wasatch County with the most cost effective and enjoyable movie experience for you and your family.

See you at the movies!!!


BY JAMES LANE   08/22/2011



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