Allie Griffin Auditorium was turned into a mini movie theatre Wednesday night as an up and coming Community Cinema Group tested out how Weyburn would react to having Community Cinema in the theatre. The auditorium seats were practically full with about 70 people in attendance to watch Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” on the big screen.
Before the movie, they had guest speakers Valerie Fouillard and Lorraine Fidelak from the Maryfield Auditorium Committee give the crowd an insight on how they run and make their community theatre work.
They have a unique situation where the Maryfield Auditorium is owned by the village meaning they don’t have to pay taxes or any power, water or garbage removal costs on the building. Because of this they couldn’t give a price range example on how much it would cost to rent or buy a space for the cinema and then maintain it in Weyburn.
Between the improvements to their stage area, the installation of surround sound, a new 12 x 25’ screen and the projection system, their total was $82,226 and all that money was raised through the community.
As for operating costs, such as cost of movie and confectionary supplies, they deal with 11 movie companies with the minimum cost $210 including GST. They deal in percentages of the box office generated which is typically 35- 40 per cent, and can go as high as 65 per cent depending on the company that owns the rights to the movie. Other expenses include concession supplies, courier expense for delivery and return of movie hard drives, Canadian Cinema Distribution fee, Shaw TV(6 months of the year), advertising costs, janitorial wages and maintenance on the building.
In 2018, the total cost between the movies, the freight, the booking fees and the Canadian Cinema Distribution was $15,967.99, but they profited $4,136.01 because the income generated was $20,104. Concession expenses were $7,195.13, but sales were $15,418.80 which generated a profit of $9,474.67.
The movie selected plays twice each weekend on Friday and Saturday, or occasionally on Friday and Sunday. Each night they run with two committee members and one or two volunteers from the community.
As for the future of a community cinema in Weyburn, the future is unknown, but Maryfield Auditorium proves that it can be done and can be successful. The proper amount of community interest and involvement just needs to be present and willing to help.