Table of Contents

1 Background

This document is a rough draft of some ideas that will go on to form a business plan for taking over the Uptown Cinemas in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle.

As of November 28th, 2010, this venue is slated to close. I think it has a future in it, yet, and that new life could be breathed into it. This document tells how I'm looking to do that.

1.1 History

1.1.1 General History

The Uptown Cinemas opened in 1926, with a single screen. Later [when? I haven't yet been able to find out], two more screens were added.

1.1.2 Recent past

AMC took over operation of the theatre by buying Loews in 2006.

1.1.3 Closure

The Uptown is slated to close at the end of Sunday, November 28th, 2010 (2010-11-28).

Articles and such:

More-or-less related articles:

1.2 Motivation

When I first moved to Seattle, I wound up in an apartment just a couple of blocks from the Uptown Cinemas. I started going there regularly, eventually setting up a regular event where I'd visit the theatre every Friday night, with friends. (And of course sometimes going at other times, as well.) I got to know some of the staff a bit, and enjoyed going there each week.

Then, a little while back, AMC took over the management of the theatre. Since that time, I've felt much less happy there. I feel the staff were less polite, the quality of presentation suffered (audio cut-outs, projection ending before the credits were done rolling, etc.) That, plus wanting to have discount theatre closer in to the core of the city where bussing is frequent, gave me the idea some years ago that it might be nice to take over operations of the Uptown Theatre, and make it something I'd be happy to see films at again. And hopefully make a lot of other people happy, too.

1.3 The basic idea

Run the theatre as a discount and/or novelty movie house... bring people in, get the house filled on a regular basis. By doing this, I imagine it to be quite possible to run this as a profitable business, and have a lot of fun doing it, as well. More in the Plans Section.


1.4 About me

My name is David Lindes. I have career backgrounds in Theatre (live as well as film), and systems management and software development. I've since been pursuing artistic avenues, and feel that this will potentially be a great fit for me. I'm very excited at the prospect of managing a movie theatre.

Contact Info:

Phone (home)206-599-6041
Phone (cell)650-380-1169

2 Plans

2.1 Novelty theatre

There are a number of ways that a space like this could be made to be a novelty -- bringing lots of excitement to the idea of coming here.

There are a variety of forms this could take -- and quite possibly, the best bet would be to have a mixture of them:

2.1.1 Theme nights

Different nights have different theatres

2.1.2 Traditional classics

Who wouldn't enjoy seeing Casablanca on the big screen? Or Gone With the Wind?

2.1.3 Silent Cinema

Especially if, say, a pipe organ or similar could be installed, silent movies could be revived. Or perhaps with some other form of orchestration.

The Stanford Theatre in California does this some of the time, and "talkies" some of the time. Both are widely attended.

2.1.4 Cult classics

2.1.5 Themed screens

There are three screens at this venue; perhaps each screen could have its own theme -- either that stays consistent over time, or that rotates depending on the theme night, or what have you. Perhaps different screens would have different content, or different pricing, or both.

2.1.6 Discount showings

Many of the times I've been to the Uptown, its seats have been mostly-empty. Generally fewer than 10 seats are filled at most of the showings I've gone to there.

I've seen it, though, quite packed, for the right events.

It strikes me that running the place as a discount theatre might very well (especially in these economic times, when many people find themselves needing to be tight with their funds) bring in more people. And the math is simple enough... If it's currently filling 10 seats at $9/ticket, that's $90 per screening. With $3 tickets, a mere 30 people would get the same income. With $1 tickets, you'd need 90, but hey, I bet a lot of folks could afford $1 for a movie. Especially if you make it out-of-the-ordinary. Along with the various other novelty ideas, discount showings could also be an option. Or really, several options:

2.1.7 No ads

For me, personally, I find the ads that are often shown before movies to be annoying and offensive. I've paid for the privilege of being here to see a movie, not to have some corporate message jammed down my throat. So, no ads. In their place might be shorts... or just the beginning of the show!

2.1.8 Shorts

Whether reviving old classics, or soliciting entries from local artists, short films could be shown before shows that they're related to.

2.1.9 Second-run current films

Get a second chance to see various films that you missed (or couldn't afford) at the big movie houses

2.1.10 Double Features

What ever happened to the double feature? For one ticket price, you can see either or both of two different films, which show alternately. Or you can stay for the day, and watch both films several times.

Along with some of the other ideas in this section, this could create some interesting juxtapositions:

2.1.11 Special discounts?

Perhaps there could be, either always or for certain nights, special discounts for certain populations -- those who can show they arrived on the bus, perhaps, or people with disabilities... perhaps even the homeless? And perhaps some of these showings would cater specifically to these audiences in other ways, as well. Special nights for deaf audiences, where subtitles are added even for films that are in English, or perhaps the volume is particularly cranked up, for those there who do still have some hearing. Or films for the blind, with voice-over added? There are a variety of options for creative discounts in special areas, to bring people out who might not normally go to a movie, or not go very often.

2.1.12 Food alternatives

Places like Central Cinema are finding joy by serving food to movie-goers as they watch, which is pretty neat. But perhaps there'd also be value in, say, having the usual concessions-at-the-front-of-the-theatre type setup, but with a twist: organic foods, or kettle-popped corn, or a taffy puller, or... making it quite explicitly allowed to bring your own snacks. Stop gouging people for concession prices, though, and perhaps they'll be more likely to purchase things. Locally made pastries, perhaps, or Theo truffles, or the like. Some of these items might be expensive, but make the prices the same as they'd be at any other place where those items are available -- skip the premium for buying it while they're captive -- because really, that's coercive, and wouldn't people be more happy to go somewhere where they feel they're getting a good deal?

3 Research to be done

3.1 TODO Interview operators of other discount theatres in the area

4 Ideas for funding

4.1 grants from arts organizations

4.2 rich benefactor?

4.3 benefit party as a way of drumming up interest

4.4 community funding

If Columbia City can do it, maybe it could be done here, too? Sell stock, take donations, or the like.

Author: David Lindes <>

Date: 2010/11/28 15:53:49