Salmar Theatre cuts cost of admission

The Salmar Community Association is lowering their prices on movie tickets.

Family friendly: Salmar Community Association president Chris Letham gets ready for a movie and lower ticket prices. Reduced ticket prices go into effect Dec. 1.

It’s news most readers wish they would hear more often.

The Salmar Community Association is lowering their prices on movie tickets.

Effective Dec. 1, movie prices for children aged three to 12 will drop by $2 from $7 to $5. Student and seniors rates will get a $1 reduction from $7 to $6. The Tightwad Tuesday movie special deal and matinee movies for all ages will go from $7 to $5.

The surcharge on 3D movies is going from $3 to $2.

Regular adult prices will remain the same at $9.

“The rationale for this is the board felt we want to make the movie-going experience more affordable, especially for families,” says Chris Letham, president of the association at last Wednesday’s annual general meeting.

“When you are trying to take a whole family, it can be a significant outlay. The board really wanted to make the effort to make it more accessible.”

Letham says the non-profit association, whose mission is to give back to the community, is not anticipating a significant impact on its financial bottom line, as the price reduction might also be offset by increased attendance.

The movie experience may not only be cheaper, it’s soon to become easier on the behind.

After more than 14 years of use, the seats at the Salmar Grand Theatre will be replaced in early 2012.

“In keeping with wanting to put more bums in seats, we want to put more bums in more comfortable seats,” says board member Bernd Hermanski.

The board has also approved the conversion of some of the theatres to stadium seating, where seats are stepped to offer better sightlines. The first change will take place in the largest theatre, with only the back half being converted.

“It’s going to be a bit of an experiment to see the expense and the audience response. It helps keep us current with the fashions in the industry. No one’s building theatres without it anymore,” added Hermanski.

The conversion is planned for February or March, which is a slower time of year for the operation.

This year, the upgrading of all five screens to digital projection was completed, with the last two screens being shifted from 35 mm film to digital in October. The board noted they needed to make the conversion as many film studios are not even releasing movies on film any longer. This will also save the association on the shipping costs of sending the heavy reels back and forth.

The fiscal year for the association was not without some challenges. Attendance at the Salmar Grand was down nine per cent for the period from Oct. 2010 to Sept. 2011. While attendance at the Salmar Classic Theatre was down 57 per cent, it was mainly attributed to the fact that 3D movies previously could be seen only at the Classic and were now available at the Grand. It was also noted there were no giant blockbuster movies like Avatar in the past year.

“Thank goodness for Harry Potter,” says general manager Daila Duford. “Last Christmas, unlike the one before, was very slow, although the rainy summer was fantastic for us.”

The association’s net income went from $125,322 in 2010 to just under $50,000 in 2011. This made an impact on the amount the association was able to contribute to community causes over the past year. Despite this, the association distributed $8,100 in community grants, $4,723 in promotional support and $14,000 in scholarships for Shuswap-area students. The group also makes contributions by making its facilities available to community groups and by donating free movie passes.


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