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Nothing beats the feeling of watching a movie on a big screen. When you go to a theater to see a movie, you feel like you are in the movie. Even though real-time features have made it easier to watch the latest movies at home, people still go to the theater to see new innovations and more advanced technology.

People are going out again now that the pandemic is over, and the US movie theater business is expected to grow by 4.8% per year until 2028. 

Even though starting the movie theater of your dreams is a great idea right now, it’s important to learn the basics of business first. This step-by-step guide, on the other hand, has all the information and knowledge you really need to get you and your new movie on the path to progress.

Step 1: Find Out if this is the Right Business for You?

Positives Vs Negatives

Workplace Fun: Show pictures and excite your customers!
After the Pandemic, people are going back to the movies in droves.
Make friends and build long-lasting connections with the community.
High costs to get started: Equipment and film license fees are too expensive.
Confronting Streaming Services: Many people like to watch movies at home.
  • Previous size and growth: In 2022, the US movie theater business will be worth $12.1 billion. During the outbreak, the business went down, but it is now making a full comeback.
  • The world market for movie theaters is expected to grow at a yearly rate of 4.7% through 2028.
  • In the US in 2022, there are 2,525 theater groups.

Cost of Starting Movie Theater

Costs for opening a movie theater run from $135,000 to $325,000. Equipment, staff, and the cost of renting the movies you show are some of the biggest costs. By licensing older movies instead of putting out new ones and by getting or buying used tools, you might be able to keep costs down.

Investment Items:

  • Theater
  • Computer-controlled screen
  • Projection screen
  • Film rights

Is Movie Theater Profitable?

Tickets to the shows usually cost $15. When concessions are offered, viewers usually spend an extra $10 on them. After paying for everything, your total profit should be around 30%.

If you have two screens, you could show two movies per week to 75 people each in the first year or two. You could make $195,000 a year by charging $15 per ticket and selling $10 worth of snacks to each person. Taking that 30% advantage into account, the gain would be $59,000. As your movie theater becomes more popular, you might be able to get 200 people to each showing, make $520,000 a year, and make a huge profit of $156,000.

Entry Barriers

  • Finding a good theater location
  • Starting fees that are expensive
  • Trying to get people away from regular movie theaters

Step 2: Create a Strategy

Identify a Gap

Find a chance to check out local and online movie houses’ services, costs, and customer reviews. You’re trying to fill a hole in the market. For example, the neighborhood store might not have a movie theater, diner, or arcade.

This could get people talking about you and start bringing in customers right away.


  • You will be selling tickets to the movies you choose to show at your movie house. Authorization fees make it more expensive to show big new releases than older movies. If snacks or a full bar with drinking drinks were available, revenue would go up.
  • Some houses also have arcade games available. You could also consider renting out your theater for private shows or business events.


Movie tickets usually cost between $12 and $20. You can charge less for shows during the weekday afternoons or more for performances on the weekends. Candies, popcorn, and drinks could cost anywhere from $5 to $12 at the snack stand. If you serve drinks, you can charge between $10 and $20 per drink.

Once you know your costs, you can use this step-by-step profit margin tool to figure out your markup and end prices. Don’t forget that the prices you use at send-off should be flexible enough to change when the market requires it.

Target Market

People and families who like going to movie theaters will be your target market. Because viewers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, you should spread your marketing efforts across Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.


Pick a place where your movie house will be. In a perfect situation, you would want to rent a theater that is already set up to show movies. Find a theater with plenty of parking in a convenient area. Customers like it when shopping centers and malls have cinemas connected to them for their ease.

If your business grows or you buy more stages, you might need to rent a separate office. You will probably need to hire people for different jobs. You can find business space to rent in your area on websites like Craigslist, Crexi, and Moment Workplaces.

When choosing a work place, you might want to follow these general rules:

  • Focus area accessible by public car
  • Well-lit, spacious, and well-ventilated.
  • Flexible rent that can be increased as your business grows.
  • Ready-to-use place that doesn’t need major repairs or renovations

Step 3: Write a Business Plan

A business plan is essential. This will assist you in guiding your new firm through the launch process while keeping your primary goals in mind. A business plan also assists potential partners and investors in better understanding your company and its objectives:

  • Executive Summary: A quick overview of the whole business plan that should be produced when the plan is completed.
  • Business Overview: A overview of the company’s aims, vision, purpose, assets, and control structure.
  • What we manufacture and what we do: Describe in detail what you’re selling.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis and consider market trends such as changes in demand and growth prospects.
  • Competitive Analysis: Analyze your top competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, then build a list of what makes your services superior.
  • Sales and marketing: Consider your company’s unique selling points (USPs) and devise sales, marketing, and promotion strategies.
  • Management Team: An overview of the team’s tasks and professional backgrounds, as well as a business structure.
  • Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes how it will get supplies, where it will put its office, what its most important assets and tools are, and other practical details.
  • Financial Plan: A three-year plan for money, including start-up costs, a break-even analysis, predictions of profits and losses, cash flow, and a balance sheet.
  • Appendix: Add any other papers related to money or business.

Step 4: Create a Marketing Plan

Some of your business will come from people who see you or find you online, but you should still spend money on marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses because it will bring in more customers and raise awareness of the brand. 

When your website is up and running, connect it to your social media accounts. Social media is a great way to promote your business because you can make interesting posts and sell your products.

  • Facebook is a great place for paid ads because you can target specific groups, like guys under 50 in the Cleveland area. 
  • Instagram has the same benefits as Facebook, but it’s for a different kind of user.
  • Website: Search engine optimization (SEO) will help your site rank higher in relevant search results, which is a key part of getting more sales. Make sure your website gives clear calls to action. Change the size, color, and location of calls to action like “Book Now.” This could bring in a lot more people.
  • Google and Yelp: Getting your business listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be a very important way to get people to know about it and buy from you.
  • Competitions and giveaways: Create interest by giving away gifts to customers who do certain things, like resharing an online entertainment post and tagging friends in the comments.
  • Signage: Put up eye-catching signs in front of your building.
  • Flyers should be handed out in your neighborhood and at business events.
  • Post a video. Post a video about your cinema. You can pay to sponsor events that are good for your target market. If you use fun, it could go viral!
  • Paid social media ads: Choose sites where your goal crowd is and run targeted ads there.
  • Pay-per-click marketing: Using Google AdWords to improve your search engine results. Do some research before choosing your watchwords.
  • Powerhouse marketing: Pay people with large online entertainment followings to promote your movie. There are small powerhouses with smaller followings and lower rates.
  • Testimonials: Tell how much your customers liked a show at your theater.