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Last updated on October 7th, 2023

movie theater

Executive Summary

Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the important parts of your plan.

Your Executive Summary should quickly grab the attention of the reader. Tell them what kind of movie theater you are running and what the status is. For example, are you a new business, do you want to grow your movie theater, or do you run a chain of movie theaters?

Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that comes after this one. For example, describe the movie theater business in a few words. Talk about the kind of movie theater you run. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of the people you want to reach. Give a quick overview of your marketing plan. Find the most important people on your team. And give an overview of how you plan to handle your money.

Company Analysis

In your business analysis, you will describe what kind of movie theater business you run.

For example, you might run a:

  1. First-Run Movie Theater: This kind of business focuses on showing movies that just came out.
  1. Discount Movie theaters show movies that are in their second run, which means that they have been out for a while. This is a good option for theaters that are older, smaller, less updated, or in less desirable neighborhoods.
  1. Art House Theater: This type of business shows movies that were made to be serious artistic works, as opposed to movies that were mostly made to be fun.

In the section of your business plan called “Company Analysis,” you need to explain what kind of movie theater you will run and give background information about the business.

Answers should be given to questions like:

  • When did you start your business, and why?
  • What important steps have you taken so far? Milestones could be things like how many tickets were sold, how many good reviews the movie got, how many times it was shown, and so on.
  • Your legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Tell us about your legal structure.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to give a general description of the movie theater business.

Even though this may seem pointless, it has more than one use.

First, learning about the industry gives you knowledge. It gives you a better idea of the market you are in.

Second, market research can help you make your strategy better, especially if it shows you market trends.

The third reason to do market research is to show your readers that you know a lot about your field. You do just that by doing the research and putting it in your plan.

In the industry analysis section, you should answer the following questions:

  • How much money does the business make?
  • Is the market going down or up?
  • Who are your main rivals in the market?
  • Who are the main market suppliers?
  • What changes are happening in the field?
  • How fast is the industry expected to grow in the next 5–10 years?
  • How big is the market that matters? That is, how big is your movie theater business’s potential market? You can figure out such a number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the population in your area.

Customer Analysis

In the customer analysis section, you need to explain who you serve and/or who you hope to serve.

Families, college students, young professionals, people who want to see movies on a budget, and people with higher educations or an interest in art are all examples of customer segments.

As you might guess, the type of business you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. Families would respond differently to marketing campaigns than, say, young professionals or college students.

Try to figure out who your target market is by looking at their demographics and how they think and feel. In terms of demographics, talk about the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the people you want to serve. This kind of demographic information is easy to find on government websites because most movie theaters mostly serve people who live in the same city or town.

Psychographic profiles explain what your target customers want and need. The better you can understand and define these needs, the easier it will be to get customers and keep them coming back.

Competitive Analysis

In your competitive analysis, you should list your business’s direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.

Other movie theaters are your direct competitors.

Indirect competitors are other places where customers can buy things that aren’t direct competitors. This includes services that let you watch videos online and stores that rent out movies. You should also talk about this competition.

In terms of direct competition, you should talk about the other movie theaters that you compete with. Most likely, the closest movie theaters to you will be your main competitors.

Give an overview of each of these competitors’ businesses and list their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you’ve worked at one of your competitors’ companies, you won’t know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key facts about them, such as:

  • What kind of clients do they work with?
  • What kinds of films do they show?
  • How much do they charge (high, low, etc.)?
  • What can they do well?
  • What do they do wrong?

For the last two questions, try to answer them from the customers’ point of view. And don’t be afraid to ask the customers of your competitors what they like and dislike about them.

The last part of your competitive analysis section is to list the ways you are better than your competitors. As an example:

  • Will you have more comfortable seats, better sound and video, or better food and drink?
  • Will you offer things that your competitors don’t?
  • Will you treat your customers better?
  • Will you price things better?

Think about how you will do better than your competitors and write them down in this part of your plan.

Marketing Plan

Usually, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. Your marketing plan for a movie theater business plan should include the following:

Product: In the product section, you should repeat the type of movie theater company you described in your Company Analysis. Then, give specifics about the products you’ll be selling. For example, will you have concessions, alcoholic drinks (where legal), or arcade games in addition to showing movies?

Price: Write down the prices you’ll be charging and how they compare to those of your competitors. In your marketing plan, the product and price sections are basically where you list the services you offer and how much they cost.

Place: This is where your movie theater business is located. Write down where you are and how that will affect your success. For example, is your movie theater in a busy shopping area, shopping plaza, mall, etc.? Talk about why your location could be the best for your customers.

Promotions: The last part of your marketing plan for your movie theater is the section on promotions. Here, you’ll write down how you’ll get people to your location (s). Here are some ways you could promote your business:

  • Putting ads in newspapers and magazines in your area
  • Contacting local websites
  • Flyers
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

In the other parts of your business plan, you talked about your goals. In your operations plan, you talk about how you will reach those goals. Your plan for operations should have two separate parts.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks that go into running your theater, like selling tickets, taking tickets, cleaning theaters, and running film screenings.

Long-term goals are the goals you want to reach in the future. These could be the dates when you expect to sell your 100,000th ticket or when you hope to make $X. It could also be when you want to open a new theater in a different city.

Management Team

To show that your movie theater can do well, you need a strong management team. Showcase the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.

You and/or your team members should have managed movie theaters before. If so, talk about your experience and skills. But also highlight any experience you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is missing something, you might want to put together an advisory board. A two-to-eight-person advisory board would help your business in the same way that a mentor would. They would help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have managed theaters or small businesses before.

Financial Plan

Your 5-year financial plan should include a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year, then an annual breakdown after that. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement are all part of your financial statements.

A more common name for an income statement is a Profit and Loss statement, or P&L. It shows your income and then takes away your expenses to show if you made a profit.

You need to make assumptions in order to make your income statement. For example, how long will it take you to sell 3,000 tickets? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% every year? As you might expect, the financial forecasts for your business will be greatly affected by the assumptions you choose. Do as much research as you can to try to make sure your assumptions are true.

Balance sheets show both your assets and your debts. Balance sheets can have a lot of information, but try to boil them down to the most important parts. For example, if you spend $50,000 building out your movie theater, you won’t start making money right away. Instead, it is an asset that you can use to make money for years to come. Likewise, if a bank gives you a check for $50,000, you don’t have to pay it back right away. Instead, you will have to pay that back over time.

Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money but still go bankrupt if you run out of money.

When making your Income Statement and Balance Sheets, make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a movie theater:

  • Location build-out, which includes construction, design fees, etc.
  • Cost of supplies and equipment
  • Payroll or wages given to employees Business insurance
  • Taxes and licenses
  • Legal expenses