MARION — Fifteen years after it opened as a second-run movie house in the Corridor, Collins Road Theatres will begin showing first run movies Nov. 2.
Bruce Taylor, owner and general manager of the five-screen theater complex at 1462 Twixt Town Rd. in Marion, said changes in the industry and in the market were major factors in his decision.
“The model that we had when we opened in 2003 was based on the other theaters in town charging more than what they needed to,” Taylor said. “In order come in with the same thing at a reduced price, we had to do second-run movies.
“That worked fine for 15 years, but the movie-going world has changed and we had to adapt with it. Now that there’s a 16-screen theater down the street instead of a seven-screen theater, they hold onto movies a lot longer than they did in the past. In most cases, it’s because movies don’t come out as they have screens to fill.”
Taylor said studios decide how many theaters in a particular market will open a first-run movie. They might not want the same movie showing at all three theaters in the Cedar Rapids market — AMC Classic Westdale 12, Marcus Cedar Rapids Cine and Collins Road Theatres — he explained.
Switching to first-run movies will allow him to show movies the same day that they open nationally. Movies already booked to open Nov. 2 include “Bohemian Rhapsody,” about the band Queen, and “A Star Is Born,” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.
Taylor will be paying twice as much to show first-run movies, so admission pricing will change slightly to reflect that.
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“The price has been $6 for all seats in the evening, regardless of whether it has been adults or children,” he said. “That will change to $7 for adults and $5 for kids (under 12). We are splitting the difference by raising the adult price by $1 and lowering the price for kids by $1. For a family of four, it will be exactly the same amount.
“Matinees before 6 o’clock will still be $5 for everybody.”
Taylor believes the first-run movies will bring more people to the theater. He also expects that will create higher concession revenue, offsetting his higher cost for first-run movies.
“We do not plan any increase in concession prices on account of this,” Taylor said. “Concession prices go up and down over time, but they will be independent of this.”
Collins Road Theatres has kept up to date on technology in recent years, installing digital projection equipment and upgrading to 7.1 digital sound in 2014. The switch to first-run movies will not require any changes in technology.
Taylor plans to host the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival in the spring.