Originally Posted by Blind Broccoli
I just read they closed the Paris Theatre in NYC!
Do you remember when "theater" was spelled "theatre"?
General usage in the U.S. is that legitimate (live) theatres use "theatre" and movie theaters use "theater". I don't know how it evolved that way, but it may have been that "...re" sounded too foreign or someone simply made a mistake at some point.
I'm not surprised that the Paris closed. People are simply not showing up. The kind of people who used to inhabit the upper east and west side art houses don't seem to exist anymore. I remember when such theaters played primarily independent and foreign films, primarily for sophisticated adults. But now "adults" want to see comic book movies featuring characters from their childhood and most of those theaters are gone. The only one left is the Cinema I, II, III and they mainly show mainstream films. I remember times when I'd see long lines outside the Paris and sold out shows. Those days are pretty much gone.
And their lease was up. In NYC when a retail lease is up, the landlord generally wants three times the last rent, sometimes much more. That's not possible for a movie theater. The revenues simply aren't there. AMC, the largest movie chain, averages overall ticket sales of only 100 per day, per screen (although it's probably far higher in NYC). IMO, that's embarrassing. They were profitable in Q2, but not enough to erase the big losses in Q1. And the Q3 already looks like a bust.
The Paris will probably wind up being a bank or a Starbucks. That's what almost everything is these days in Manhattan. We're losing everything that made NYC unique.
I accidentally came across an old issue of Variety from 1949, which wasn't a great year for movie theaters (the last great year was 1946) as TV (and other factors) were already taking a toll. But in this particular week in January of 1949, just 16 Manhattan movie theaters, with a total seating capacity of 39,375, sold $570,500 worth of tickets (about 477,000 tickets), which is $6.1 million in today's dollars. On average each theater did almost $42,000 per day in today's dollars. The average AMC theatre does about $1000 per screen and the average theater has 10 screens, so that's about $10,000 a day.
Since 1999, NYC has lost 40% of its movie theaters and since 2001, 13% of the net screen count. But due to smaller theaters and lounge seating, it's lost 29% of the net seats just since the end of 2015 and 59% of the seating capacity since 1987. We lost most of the record and book stores and even though there's been some recent openings in NYC, I think over time, we're going to lose a fair portion more of the movie theaters, especially when each of their leases are up. We have a generation that doesn't mind watching most movies on a tiny screen in mono or 2-channel stereo.