How to Start a Movie Theater

A movie theater is a place where a number of people can watch films projected on a large screen. The place is often equipped with special projectors and equipment to ensure the quality of the enlarged image as well as the audio.

The audience is seated in an incline so that all the members can have an unobstructed view of the screen. A lobby and concession stand is often included in the theater. The lobby allows people space while waiting for the movie to start. The concession stand offers food and beverages that can be eaten while watching the movie.


What You’ll Need


  • building or site
  • projection screens
  • projectors
  • theater seats
  • concession stand (optional)
  • films


Planning and Designing


Consider your budget so that you know your limitations in materials and dimensions. Choose a site with steady foot traffic. Build the theater where it can be easily accessed by people. It would also be best if the place has nearby parking spaces.

Consider your target market. This will dictate the design and structure of the theater. If your target is younger audience, use a modern design. If you are targeting a more mature population, you may consider a more traditional one. You should also consider the economic standing of the target audience; this will help you decide whether the theater should be fancy or simple.


General Tips in Starting a Movie Theater

After you have found a place for your movie theater, buy the materials needed for the design and the equipment. Set up the seats, projectors, and projection screens.

If you have decided to have a concession stand, set it up outside the theater. For a standard concession stand, purchase a long counter with clear glass for display. Purchase a refrigerator to keep your cold drinks. You will also need a soft drink dispenser and a popcorn machine.

Acquire films. You can contact distributors to get films to screen. If you cannot afford first-run films, you can make your theater a specialty theater which plays specific genres like foreign or independent films.

Hire a staff. The common staff needed would be a ticket seller, someone to accept tickets, security guards, operators and technicians for your equipment, and ushers. If you have a concession stand, you will also need staff to man that.

Advertise the opening of your theater. Send out flyers, promotional discounts, and free coupons to prospective customers. You can also lure customers by giving out free screenings, student discounts, and other incentives.