Magazine article Variety

Huge Challenges for Indie Theaters

Magazine article Variety

Huge Challenges for Indie Theaters

Article excerpt

Leading up to this week's annual gathering of exhibitors at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, I began wondering how the mom-and-pop theaters across the country are able to endure all of the significant changes that are roiling their industry.

The operators of the nation's major circuits and medium-sized chains are understandably worried (or, more accurately, scared shitless) about the potential fallout and loss of customers they could face from the impending shrinkage of the time between when movies play in their theaters and when they're delivered to the home. I can't even imagine how those running small independent cinemas are coping with that inevitability.

I talked to one exhibition veteran, Byron Berkley, who owns and operates four small-town theaters in rural Texas, and he readily acknowledges, "It's a big concern." Even though the public has been demanding immediate access to movies for a while, he says, "We've been avoiding it." But he concedes that hiding their heads in the sand is no longer an option.

Exhibitors are fearful that if people can have access to firstrun movies in their living rooms, the frequency of going out to the multiplex could be greatly diminished. …

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