Former AMC Star Taylor reopens as the Spotlight Taylor

posted by CSWalczak on July 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

TAYLOR, MI — The father and son team of Ken and Jake Stocker have reopened the ten-screen former AMC Star Taylor which opened in 1989 as one of Jack Loeks' Star Theaters. Now called the Spotlight Taylor the Stockers plan to put the Spotlight name on the Silverdome Drive-in which they reopened in April. They hope to add or acquire other theaters in Michigan as well.

“Most of the time in movie theaters, people feel like they’re getting ripped off,” Jake Stocker told me Monday, as he and his father directed workers putting the finishing touches on renovations at the 10-screen Taylor cinema across Eureka Road from Southland Mall.

Stocker plans to graduate in December from U-M with a sports marketing degree. He studied Southwest Airlines' business model in a class he took and was taken by the parallels between movies and airlines. As with airlines, where mergers keep collapsing one brand into another, the original Star Theatre in Taylor was swallowed up in Loews and AMC megadeals, and then neglected as the giant parent chose to focus on upscale multiplexes.

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Comments (4)

John Fink
John Fink on July 10, 2010 at 3:01 am

While I certainly wish them all the best I’m always weary of operators talking about lower price points as a means of attracting business on first run engagements, I find most then charge more at the concession stand. I’m not sure if people are motivated by price, although they complain about it for sure. I find that the majority of movie goers and I’m using my friends as an example gravitate towards the “new” “comfortable” stadium plexes or to the local theater that has a convenient showtime, and away from older theaters. I’m not sure bargain days work – Clearview certainly packs them in on free movie Tuesdays (for cable subscribers with an Optimum card), but I’ve seen other chains with minimal attendance on special nights. I guess it’s all about how you get the word out and continue to promote.

Sure, theaters that are second run and advertise $2-4 shows seem to do well on that price point, but I find advertising “low prices” which are only a dollar or two lower doesn’t work, although I will point to a Loews Richfield Park which became a first run theater with a $6 ticket price while everyone was approaching 9-10, that worked. Now that AMC runs the show I believe they come in slightly lower (last I was there I think they were 9 verses 11 at the nearest competitor National Amusements), but it’s not something to brag about in print, for $2 more I’ll take National Amusements.

But I do wish any theater operator willing to go into the market all the best, perhaps they were able to negate a better deal which makes the site a more viable operation than AMC had. I’ve seen smaller operators that try and fail and others that are successful for a variety of reasons, I wouldn’t look at the airline industry, I’d look at theater chains (Harkins comes to mind first) that turned themselves around and how they did it.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm

You make good points John.But even at 11.00 dollars a seat here in Augusta for a first run movie you still have A-holes yaking in the theatre.I found our little Masters 7 here a two dollar theatre having the fewest patron problems,or maybe i have just been lucky with the movies i have seen there.

quasimodo on July 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Star Taylor crashed when MJR opened the Southgate 20 nearby. It was consistently among the lowest grossing theatres in the state. While independents can sometimes do a better job than the major circuits, market conditions do not favor a theatre operation here and I’m always sceptical of those who feel they can reinvent the wheel. That being said, best of luck.

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