Disaster Movies Are OK But Movie Theater Disasters Are Not
One Lost Day is One Day Too Many
Think about the following summer occurrences:
1. Lightning/Thunderstorm Make sure all electronics have battery backups or at least surge suppressors. That’s projectors, servers, audio, computers, POS or registers, etc. Buy the highest joule rating you are comfortable paying for and do not plug battery backups into other battery backups (suppressors into battery backups are OK).
Note that battery backups are better than surge suppressors because battery backups keep the voltage constant during a brownout. Voltage drops can fry components as well as surges.
2. AC busted No AC in a theater can drop sales in half. A responsive HVAC company under contract is a service vendor your theater must have. Filter cleanings and belt checks on your AC units will avoid more than half your problems.
3. Bulb outages 2000 watt bulbs can last 1500 hrs or they can last 4500 hrs. Choose some number over warranty you are comfortable risking and stick with it. In the above example, 2500 hours might be a good choice. One busy show lost can cost $1000, and pushing a bulb the last 500 hours gains you less than $100, better to err on the side of changing early. And always watch for signs that the bulb is nearing the end of its life. Dimming, inconsistent or wandering brilliance, a dark hazing of the bulb glass or multiple auto-strike failures/manual-strikes needed are all reasons to change the bulb the next morning.
4. Excessive Booth Heat Do anything you have to do to keep booth temperature under 80 degrees. If you’ve got a dusty booth that’s as bad as or worse than heat, again do whatever you have to remove dust – duct cleaning, HEPA units, paint over dust makers, vacuum like crazy, etc.
5. Be ready to service If you do have a projector or server failure, be ready to have your guy service with a laptop that has the proper ports, software, passwords, etc. or have the phone number handy of your service provider and get on the phone pronto and get the process started. A delay of an hour can cost you a whole day of shows, 2—3 p.m. is the latest you can call a supplier and reasonably expect a package to make overnight shipping.
Obviously some of these “crash-and-burns” occur beyond the summer. Try to anticipate events that could cost you money if you’re caught flatfooted. “Be prepared.”