Dear Mr Johnson,
I am August Rivalin, I am an international business man and the owner of the longest running atmospheric movie house in the the world. The Lido Theatre in Canada has been in my family for 4 generations with the 5th generation helping out now. if you’d care to read more feel free to read our history page here.
I am in my 30s and have a few companies now, although the theatre is still close to my heart.
You can learn a little more about me and my businesses found here at www.rivalin.ca (if you have time ha ha)
I have written celebrity actors and producers in times past in the hopes of improving distribution methods used by the studios.
Mainly that we can not book some films because of legacy rules which are so counter intuitive it is laughable to my peers in other industries.
We can not book Moana until it is really old because Disney employs a method which prevents maximum earnings in the first and most lucrative play week.
Our Lido Theatre is a massive 350+ seat movie house in a market of under 10’000 people. When we do book “on-release” films it is when the studio (many do allow us to book and they do this often) allows us to play for 7 days only, something which Disney almost never does anymore.
In 7 days we offer our 10’000 customers 5250 tickets over 15 performances. Obviously we have the capability to saturate our small isolated market in just the 7 days. One ticket on offer for every 2 people in the trading area has to be one of the highest market saturations in the world for any movie releasing anywhere. Sadly this falls on deaf ears at Disney.
So why am I writing you? Well I follow your Instagram and your career generally and you encourage people not to ever give up on their dreams. One of my dreams is to see many more thriving community movie theatres in operation and in order to do that we need the legacy rules to change. By the way, well done on your career, brand, and businessman-ship...if that last word is a word ha ha.
Secondarily, as an astute business person I imagine that part of your earnings are derived from ticket sales and so you are directly impacted.
I am not sure if there is anything you can do. I have been writing people and lobbying industry executives for nearly 20 years now with little change from some studios.
Strangely, years ago, Disney “played nicer” and we often contributed thousands to the studios and by extension stake holders such as yourself. Strangely they now seem to be approaching the market with a "one size fits all" mentality and sadly this leaves money on the table. What works for a city of millions does not now, nor will it ever, work for an isolated town of 10'000...seems logical right, apparently not to Disney.
We can nearly play all movies on release now, for just 7 days, and help contribute to the industry. We just haven’t been able to sway Disney in this regard.
The industry needs to change now more than ever. There are literally millions of dollars left on the table with each and every opening and I am hoping that with your help I can further influence a change so that we can all have a portion of those millions. Us, and many theatres like us are literally begging some studios some of the time to play their content to make them money and we often get refused. In Disney's case we have offered "any amount of money" to license for 7 days and they have simply said "thats not how it works" and insisted that we pay them less money but hold the picture for 14/21/28 days completely on its own (no other movies) and obviously that is not possible in a single screen market. To me, I wonder if other stake holders know that there are theatre owners out here offering any amount of money to get a license yet Disney (and occasionally others) refuse. Somethings seems wrong to me.
If there is anything that you can (would) do that would enable us to book your film Moana on December 16th in order to capture the holiday market we would be very appreciative. As it stands today, Disney will not confirm a booking therefore, us and our agents are anticipating dropping the movie outright as we will not have the opportunity to play it when it is “fresh” enough.
Your’s in determination,
P.S. If you have actually read this, no matter what your response, if you have one at all, please accept my sincerest gratitude for your time.