4 Tips for the New Theater to Survive in Downtown Kalamazoo
Earlier this month, it was announced that a new movie theater would be moving into the empty AMC in downtown Kalamazoo. A new theater. For the third time. In a decade.
Overall, that's not a great success rate. Now, you can definitely blame AMC's closing on the pandemic. After all, how can a business survive if no one can leave their house to visit it?
But, to me, if two other theaters closed down in the same area even before the pandemic, I would want to do something different to shake things up. To make this theater stand apart, you know?
Now, with absolutely no credentials or experience in running movie theaters, I have a few tips for those moving in to try to outlast their predecessors:
1. Devote one theater to just video games.
Could you imagine? Clear out the seats, throw in some older arcade games, some newer consoles with TVs AND you could rent out the big screen for an hour at a time and let people play their favorite first-person shooter, racing game, or whatever on it. It would be amazing (as long as everyone is using headphones).
2. Turn one theater into a bar.
Even better, you could have a different theme each time. Like maybe one night you just play old episodes of The Office or have a Marvel night where you play all the movies in order. You could devote an entire evening to classic films or B-rated horror movies. The options are endless.
Yes, I know things like liquor licenses are not easy to acquire. Maybe you could just do the bar thing on the weekend.
3. Have a $2 night.
Look...no shade to movie theaters. I love going to the movies. But, sometimes, it gets really expensive. A nice draw for people, especially families, to come out and enjoy the theater would be a night where concessions are cheaper. It doesn't have to be all of the concessions but maybe a certain size popcorn or drink.
4. Host special events.
This is something I actually do have experience with. In a previous town, I often emceed special events hosted by the local theater. They would do this maybe once a month and it would benefit a different charity each time. Most of them were local charities, too. In my experience, even if tickets are $15 or $20 a pop if you throw in some food and two drink tickets people are willing to spend the money. It's a win-win.
According to mlive.com, the incoming theater is seeking approval to reduce the cost of parking in the adjacent theater. So, that's something at least. Read more here.
If the theater does decide to use one of my ideas, all I ask is that you name a theater after me. Or, actually, how about free tickets for a year? Heck, I'll take free popcorn for a year!
Speaking of movies, since it's the week of Thanksgiving, you might be getting in the holiday spirit. There are a few holiday movies that are actually set in Michigan. Check it out: