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How much does it cost to open a drive-in movie theater?

Date:2020/11/17 8:08:59 Hits:

"Opening a drive-in movie theater can be a lucrative and fun business venture if you know how to do it right. Look for locations outside of the city to keep your land costs low, get the screen and sound system and find a film distributor.Consumer can watch movies only in the car. Sound is broadcast over radio waves and received by each car's stereo system where they can control the volume. Drive-in theater suitable for the current situation."----- FMUSER

If you plan to stay a drive-in movie theater not because of impulse, let us take a closer look at some details of driving a car theater.

     1. What are the costs involved in opening a drive-in movie theater?

     2. How to Calculate Distances of FM Transmissions?

     3. What are the ongoing expenses for a drive-in movie theater?

     4. About the film

What are the costs involved in opening a drive-in movie theater?

You will need about 10 to 14 acres of land ready to be developed or you may find an abandoned drive-in up for sale. You won't be able to use old projection equipment, as the industry switched to a digital platform in the last decade. Expect to invest between $250,000 and a million to develop the property including building a projection house, concession stand, sound system, and playground.

1)How many acres do I need to lease or buy? 

The typical drive-in theater requires between 10-14 acres of land. This should allow up to 500 cars to park at your theater. You will also need to consider the space required to funnel cars off the road and through the box office. Some localities have zoning requirements in place to prevent traffic from building up along the road or highway leading into the theater.

2)What kind of projector do I need? 

Because most film studios have begun releasing movies exclusively in digital format, digital projectors have become essential to successful drive-in theaters. This will be one of your larger expenses, as digital projectors typically cost between $75,000 and $150,000 per screen and must be professionally installed and calibrated. Because not all old movies are available in digital format, if you plan to show classic movies you may also want to purchase a 35mm projector. You can often find these used.

3)How much is a projector screen? 

A quality projector screen for your drive-in theater can cost anywhere from $45,000 to $300,000 depending on your area and the specific local requirements. Most screens are made of steel and anchored in concrete. You will generally need to have a screen professionally constructed and installed to meet wind-load requirements.

4)How do I get an FM station to play the audio? 

The most common way to handle audio in a drive-in theater is use of an FM transmitter. To use this system you must select an FM frequency not in use and plug your FM transmitter into your projector’s audio output. This allows you to deliver film audio to patrons through their car radios. You will also need to have a supply of portable radios to rent out to those unable to receive sound through their car radios. You will need a different radio frequency for each screen


To make it easier for you to find the right one,I recommend Fmuser's high-quality transmitters for you. You can make choose according to your actual needs.


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How to Calculate Distances of FM Transmissions?
Here is a list of the factors that will determine the range of an FM transmitter:
1. The amount of output power of the transmitter (TPO)
2. The type of coaxial cable used
3. The amount of coaxial cable used (length of cable)
4. The type of antenna used
5. The height of the antenna above average terrain (HAAT)
6. The amount and height of trees in the area around the antenna
7. The amount and height of buildings around the antenna
8. The type of terrain surrounding the antenna site (Flat or Hilly)

Items you will need
● Measurement of the height of the broadcast antenna
● Measurement of the wattage of the radio broadcast

Frequency modulation (FM) is a form of transmitting sound over a small or large distance. Most radio stations use an FM transmission to broadcast their programming to listeners. Short-distance or microbroadcasting FM transmission is used to allow personal MP3 devices to play music through a traditional radio. Calculating the general distance of an FM transmission is relatively easy to do if you know the wattage of the FM broadcast and the height of the antenna.Calculate the FM transmission range of an omni-directional antenna at 60 to 70 feet in height. A logarithmic formula is used to calculate the loss of a signal strength over a set distance.

The basic formula is :   10n * log10 (d) + C

The d is the distance of the transmission, n is the path loss exponent and C is a constant. For a broadcast of 6 watts, the transmission range will be 3 miles. At 15 watts, the range increases to 5 miles, at 40 watts to 10 miles and at 100 watts to 15 miles. The general rule of thumb is it will take four times the power to double the transmission distance.Increase the transmission range of the FM antenna without increasing the power by raising the antenna. Raise the height 10 to 15 yards to significantly increase your broadcast distance. The higher you are able to mount your antenna, the further it will reach.


What are the ongoing expenses for a drive-in movie theater?
Your payroll will be a major expenditure. Film rentals are a controllable expense as you can opt for second run flicks at a much lower rate. You will be placing weekly orders for concession supplies. Lot maintenance will also take up a large chunk of your expense spreadsheet.

About the film
How much does it cost to license a new film? 
The cost to license a new film will vary from film to film. The licensing fee is typically paid as a percentage of total ticket sales, with a minimum flat fee required. It will typically be around 50%, but big name new releases will often fall on the higher end during opening days or weeks with the fee gradually reducing over the life of the theater run. 

How much does it cost to license a classic film? 
The cost to license a classic film will also vary depending on the specific movie, but will generally be lower than new releases. Second-run and classic movies can be a good option for drive-in theaters as they are often easier to obtain than new releases. However, you must take into account the level of demand in your area and how profitable older movies will be, even in the face of lower licensing fees. 

How do I get the license to show films? 
Movie theaters obtain licenses to show films through film distributors. Because this process can be complex, it’s best to hire a booking agent to assist you in the early days of running your theater. Over time, you may choose to take this responsibility on yourself. As a small theater, booking new releases can be difficult. This is because many studios place specific requirements on leasing their films to theaters. Often, a new release will only be leased to a theater that can play the film seven days a week. If your drive-in is not open every day or has only one screen, it can be difficult to meet these requirements. Additionally, if you are located in close proximity to an indoor theater, these theaters will typically get priority because they can run the films day and night.

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