Booking question

posted by Michael Zoldessy on February 5, 2008 at 10:45 am

A question about multiplexes: Does someone there know this?:

How does a large multiplex devise its movie-starting-times schedule? Seems like an intensive task, with a large number of screens and a 12-14 hour day.

Do they use a computer, a manually-adjusted chart, or what? If it’s a computer, what’s the program name?

Thanks very much.

Comments (8)

jmarellano on February 5, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I worked at a 20 and 30 plex from 1998-2002. All the schedules were done manually by hand. Usually the first thing that was done was choosing the auditoriums for the films. Kids films that had only morning shows and could be used for interlocks for evening shows. Then showtimes were made. You would have a lot of shows starting at the same time (2 Saban Theatre:00, 2Saban Theatre:15, 2Saban Theatre:30 etc). You would have to adust times slightly to make sure auditoriums weren’t breaking at the same time next to each other. It was a tedious task.

rcdalek on February 5, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Theory will vary based on the building that you operate. In some cases you need to be worried about what time the movies get out. I worked at one plex where you could not have a movie get out when one was coming in. didnt matter if you had 2,3,4,6 or 7 coming out as long as you didnt have people coming in at the same time Even though we had an exit corridor with restrooms people always wanted to leave the exact same way they came in even if it brought you to nearly the exact same point. I even remember one time where we had no choice but to schedule an entry and egress at the same time and persuade customers to use the exit corridor, this one lady was adamant about leaving the way she wanted to, so I let her. I had about 800 people coming in the entry and she tried to push her way through in the opposite direction all the while making all sorts of faces:). Now I work in a plex where the primary goal is to reduce the flow of customers coming in at one time and keeping lines down. We start new and high attended movies on the :00 :15 :30 :45 with no 2 films starting at the same time. You tweak things a bit for various reasons. Auditorium placement is basically Brand new movies get biggest theaters, rest of theaters sorted by last week attendance. On friday we watch and adjust as needed on the fly. “I so love electronic marquees and hate them when they dont work.”

Mindhunter55 on February 5, 2008 at 7:51 pm

I worked as a manger at 14 screen theatre for a major chain. Our schedule was always done by hand. As stated above the first thing to do is to decide which theatere to put your movies in. Then we used what was called a 5 min schedule and worked out out prime show first (I.E. showings starting at between 7-8) and then build the other showtimes around it. We tried not to start more than two movies at the same time or have too many getting at the same time. Also, depending on which chain you work for there may be certain programing guidlines (For example we couldn’t start new movies between 6-7 unless it was one more than one screen or had a really long run time, however we could start
older movies during that time,etc.) Also, for advertising reasons we had to have a certain amount of time between showing for adds to run. I guess if your and independent cinema you have a lot more flexibility, but if you work for a chain they will probably have lots of guidlines.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on February 6, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Yes, starting and ending times are MOST important…

The evening performances need to be staggered especially for the Box Office and Concession Stand personnel.

Many patrons are so disorganized when they arrive at a multiplex; They don’t have their money or plastic ready and the cashier has to ask if you have a membership card (to earn points).

Another sensible thing that families/groups don’t realize is that only the ticket buyer need stand in the queue. The rest of them should step aside s as to save the congestion! This should also apply when getting their drinks and munchies.

I firmly believe that attendance would improve greatly if evening start times were set to accommodate those who leave work, fight the rush hour traffic and need restaurant time. 6:30pm & 7pm is too early for new release films.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on February 6, 2008 at 4:12 pm

I have seen really bad multiplex times…love when the run Disney at 8pm and 10:40 ….Happens all the time.

px1 on February 12, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Thanks a million for these comments. I’m especially interested in those various requirements mentioned.

bigred on February 23, 2008 at 2:21 am

I see one thing that hasn’t been said yet. There are time the film companies tell you they want a certain film at certain times and they also try to telll you which theatre it goes in.

The times are usually done by hand but it’s not hard to make a form on the computer to figure start and end times with the running times.

There are some chains that have guidelines as far as the spacing of show times but other give the managers complete controll except the times when the studio tells them it must be at certain times and those weren’t very often.

TLSLOEWS on July 24, 2010 at 7:31 pm

In my days we scheduled the showings by the running time of the movie backwards so that the last show would end by 11:30P.M. to prevent overtime in the booth, and the amount of time between showings to get the crowds in and out.Of course we only ran single screens and was pretty easy to set show time,Double features which we hardly every ran was more difficult because the movie run times we not the same and you would have to adjust the show times to make the features and trailers all fit in.e did have a problem one time when we were given the wrong running time on the movie it ran about 25 minutes longer than we had set the schedule it took about 3 days to get the advertisiments to have the correct times in then.

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