Do you want to know exactly how much it cost to start a movie theater business? If YES, here is a detailed cost analysis for starting a movie theater and raising finance.

A movie theater, which is also called a cinema is a venue, usually a building that contains an auditorium for viewing films/movies or motion pictures as it is called in some quarters, for the purpose of entertainment or perhaps education. Almost all movie theaters are commercial operations open to the general public, who attend by purchasing a ticket.

Why Start a Movie Theater Business?

In recent times, the Movie Theater industry is finding it difficult to fill-up their theater. This is due to competition from online streaming platforms that have successfully drawn moviegoers away from the theaters. Going forward, the movie theater industry will benefit from rising disposable income, which will encourage consumers to spend more on entertainment.

Nevertheless, competition from online videos will largely counterbalance this positive trend. The truth is that even though disposable income levels have improved since the recession enabling more entertainment spending, media consumption is increasingly shifting toward lower-cost online subscriptions, such as Netflix and Hulu. This trend has been supported by the rising number of tablets and smartphones capable of streaming movie files, as well as the continued development of wireless data connection.

Cinemas/movie theaters are generally custom designed buildings that enables viewing movies from any sitting position; they equally have big lavatories, lobbies and projection rooms.

Although the movie theater industry can be said to be a competitive industry, but it does not in any way stop entrepreneurs who are creative to still make headway in the industry. It is indeed a profitable industry especially when the business is well located. No doubt busy cities with growing population is highly suitable for a movie theater. There are loads of people that patronize movie theaters; socialites, celebrities, corporate executives, students and even senior citizens.

In the bid to stay afloat in the highly competitive cinema business, owners of cinemas now go the extra mile to ensure that they make their facility welcoming and conducive for customers. Movie theaters now have coffee bars, snack bars, free Wi-Fi et al.

Over and above, any aspiring entrepreneur can comfortably start his or her own movie theater business by acquiring an existing cinema house and then refurbishing it to meet the expected standard or start the business from the scratch by constructing a new movie theater and then equipping it with the needed equipment and accessories.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Movie Theater Business?

The cost analysis as it relates to starting a standard movie theater business in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia can be said to be almost the same except for few variations. For instance; the cost of setting up a full-service state of the art movie theater facility are same especially when bench–marked against the US Dollars.

For instance, if you live in the United Kingdom and you decide to import cinema equipment/gadgets (projectors, silver screen, sound system et al) from Japan, you will pay same price for these gadgets no matter the part of the world you live in, the only variation will be the cost of shipping the goods to your destination.

Other factors that may be slightly different in terms of costing when it comes to starting a standard movie theater business in any part of the countries listed above are cost of labor, cost of transportation and logistics, local tax, insurance policies, business incorporation fee, branding and promotions cost, rent/leasing amongst other factors.

Over and above, when it comes to starting a medium scale movie theater, you should be prepared to either rent or lease a standard and centralized facility with good human and vehicular traffic; this is going to be one of the areas where you are expected to spend the bulk of your start–up capital. Other areas are the amount required in setting up a full-service state of the art movie theater, the scale/size of the business and also in paying your employees at least for the first three months of starting the business.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Movie Theater Business in the United States?

These are the key expenses you are expected to make when starting a medium scale but standard movie theater business in the United States of America;

  • The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits (Health department license and business license) and permits (Fire department permit, Air and water pollution control permit, and Sign permit et al) as well as accounting services (CRM software, Payroll software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $15,300.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of the movie theater in the amount of $3,500, as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  • The cost for hiring a business consultant (including writing business plan) – $2,500.
  • The cost for insurance (general liability, theft, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $30,400.
  • The cost for leasing a standard facility in a good and centralized location – $350,000.
  • The cost for remodeling the facility and constructing a standard movie theater – $250,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500), phone and utility (gas, sewer, water and electric) deposits ($6,500).
  • The operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $60,000.
  • The cost for start-up inventory and cinema gadgets and equipment (movie rights, projectors, sound system, silver screen, good lighting systems et al) – $350,000.
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750.
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Telephone, printing machines, receipt issuing computer, computers, tables and chairs et al) – $14,000.
  • The cost of purchase and installation of CCTVs – $4,500.
  • The cost for building and hosting a website – $600.
  • The cost for opening party – $8,000.
  • Miscellaneous – $10,000.

You will need an estimate of nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($950,000) to successfully set up a medium scale but standard movie theater in the United States of America. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation and a movie theater with more than one cinema room within the same facility.

Starting a small scale but standard movie theater business that can only service a handful of clients per–time in just one location in the United States of America will cost from two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to five hundred thousand dollars ($250,000 to $500,000). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

When it comes to starting a standard and large scale movie theater with several outlets in key cities in the United States of America, a movie theater that can accommodate over 50 people per time and a company with the intention of selling franchise and also offering complimentary services (food court and juice bars et al), then you should look towards budgeting well over two million, five hundred thousand dollars ($2.5 million). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Movie Theater Business in the UK?

These are the key expenses you are expected to make when starting a medium scale but standard movie theater business in the United Kingdom;

  • In the United Kingdom, online applications are usually registered within 24 hours and cost £12 (paid by debit or credit card or PayPal). Postal applications take 8 to 10 days and cost £40 (paid by check made out to ‘Companies House’). There’s a same day service costing £100.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits (Health department license and business license) and permits (Fire department permit, Air and water pollution control permit,Sign permit et al) as well as accounting services (CRM software, Payroll software, P.O.S machines and other software) – £13,300.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of the movie theater in the amount of £3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at £0.04 per copy) for the total amount of £3,580.
  • The cost for hiring a business consultant (including writing business plan) – £2,500.
  • The cost for insurance (general liability, theft, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – £28,400.
  • The cost for leasing a standard facility in a good and centralized location – £305,000.
  • The cost for remodeling the facility and construction of a standard movie theater- £240,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery (£300), phone and utility (gas, sewer, water and electric) deposits (£1,500).
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – £60,000.
  • The cost for start-up inventory and cinema gadgets and equipment (movie rights, projectors, sound system, silver screen and good lighting systems et al) – £305,500.
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – £9,500.
  • The cost of purchase and installation of CCTVs – £4,500.
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Sound System, tables and chairs et al) -£2,500.
  • The cost for building and hosting a website – £600.
  • The cost for opening party – £6,300.
  • Miscellaneous – £8,000.

You will need an estimate of nine hundred and five thousand British Pounds Sterling (£905,000) to successfully set up a medium scale but standard movie theater in the United Kingdom. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation and a movie theater with more than one cinema room within same facility.

Starting a small scale but standard movie theater business that can only service a handful of clients per–time in just one location in the United Kingdom will cost from two hundred and five thousand to four hundred and eighty thousand British Pounds Sterling (£205,000 to £480,000). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

When it comes to starting a standard and large scale movie theater with several outlets in key cities in the United States of America, a movie theater that can accommodate over 50 people per time and a company with the intention of selling franchise and also offering complimentary services (food court and juice bars et al), then you should look towards budgeting well over two million British Pounds Sterling (£2 million). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Movie Theater Business in Canada?

These are the key expenses you are expected to make when starting a medium scale but standard movie theater business in Canada;

  • For federal incorporation of business in Canada, the cost to incorporate is $200 if filed online through Corporations Canada’s online Filing Centre ($250 if filed through other means).
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits (Health department license and business license) and permits (Fire department permit, Air and water pollution control permit, Sign permit et al) as well as accounting services (CRM software, Payroll software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $15,300.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of the movie theater in the amount of $3,500, as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  • The cost for hiring a business consultant (including writing business plan) – $2,500.
  • The cost for insurance (general liability, theft, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $30,400.
  • The cost for leasing a standard facility in a good and centralized location – $350,000.
  • The cost for remodeling the facility and constructing a standard movie theater – $250,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500), phone and utility (gas, sewer, water and electric) deposits ($6,500).
  • The operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $60,000.
  • The cost for start-up inventory and cinema gadgets and equipment (movie rights, projectors, sound system, silver screen, good lighting systems et al) – $350,000.
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Telephone, printing machines, receipt issuing computer, computers, tables and chairs et al) – $14,000.
  • The cost of purchase and installation of CCTVs – $4,500.
  • The cost for building and hosting a website – $600.
  • The cost for opening party – $8,000.
  • Miscellaneous – $10,000.

You will need an estimate of nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($950,000CAD) to successfully set up a medium scale but standard movie theater in Canada. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation and a movie theater with more than one cinema room within same facility.

Starting a small scale but standard movie theater business that can only service a handful of clients per–time in just one location in Canada will cost from two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to five hundred thousand dollars ($250,000CAD to $500,000CAD). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

When it comes to starting a standard and large scale movie theater with several outlets in key cities in Canada, a movie theater that can accommodate over 50 people per time and a company with the intention of selling franchise and also offering complimentary services (food court and juice bars et al), then you should look towards budgeting well over two million, five hundred thousand dollars ($2.5 millionCAD). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Movie Theater Business in Australia?

These are the key expenses you are expected to make when starting a medium scale but standard movie theater business in Australia;

  • In Australia, the fees to register your business name with ASIC include: $34 for 1 year. $80 for 3 years.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits (Health department license and business license) and permits (Fire department permit, Air and water pollution control permit, Sign permit et al) as well as accounting services (CRM software, Payroll software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $15,300.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of the movie theater in the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  • The cost for hiring a business consultant (including writing business plan) – $2,500.
  • The cost for insurance (general liability, theft, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $30,400.
  • The cost for leasing a standard facility in a good and centralized location – $350,000.
  • The cost for remodeling the facility and constructing a standard movie theater – $250,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500), phone and utility (gas, sewer, water and electric) deposits ($6,500).
  • The operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $60,000.
  • The cost for start-up inventory and cinema gadgets and equipment (movie rights, projectors, sound system, silver screen, good lighting systems et al) – $350,000.
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750.
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Telephone, printing machines, receipt issuing computer, computers, tables and chairs et al) – $14,000.
  • The cost of purchase and installation of CCTVs – $4,500.
  • The cost for building and hosting a website – $600.
  • The cost for opening party – $8,000.
  • Miscellaneous – $10,000

You will need an estimate of nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars (AUD$950,000) to successfully set up a medium scale but standard movie theater in Australia. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation and a movie theater with more than one cinema room within the same facility.

Starting a small scale but standard movie theater business that can only service a handful of clients per–time in just one location in Australia will cost from two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to five hundred thousand dollars (AUD$250,000 to AUD$500,000). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

When it comes to starting a standard and large scale movie theater with several outlets in key cities in Australia, a movie theater that can accommodate over 50 people per time and a company with the intention of selling franchise and also offering complimentary services (food court and juice bars et al), then you should look towards budgeting well over two million, five hundred thousand dollars (AUD$2.5 million). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

Estimating Start-Up Cost for a Movie Theater Business Based on the following factors;

  • Staff/Manpower

When it comes to starting a standard movie theater business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals;

  • Manager (Owner)
  • Human Resources and Admin Manager
  • Accountant/Cashier
  • Marketing and Sales Executive
  • Sound Engineers and Movie Theater Operators
  • Tickets Issuing Officer/Attendants
  • Cleaners
  • Security Guard

Can a Movie Theater Business Be Bootstrapped on a Lean Budget Right from Home?

Because of the nature in terms of size and cost of the machines, equipment and facility involved in starting and operating a movie theater, it is obvious that it cannot be bootstrapped on a lean budget from home.

As a matter of fact, the business is open to the general public and you would not want complete strangers to continue to storm your house on a regular basis and at different times of the day simply because you want to run a movie theater in your house.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Movie Theater Business Franchise?

In the United States of America, the Average Cost of Purchasing a Movie Theater/Cinema Franchise is $150,000. Examples of 3 Well – Known Movie Theater/Cinema Franchising Companies in the United States of America are;

  • Regal Cinemas Franchise – US
  • Cinema Grill Franchise – US
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – US

In the United Kingdom, the Average Cost of Purchasing a Movie Theater/Cinema Franchise is £100,000. Examples of 3 Well – Known Movie Theater/Cinema Franchising Companies in the United Kingdom are;

  • Odeon Cinemas Franchise – UK
  • CineworldCinema Franchise- UK
  • Vue Cinema Franchise – UK

In Canada, the Average Cost of Purchasing a Movie Theater/Cinema Franchise is $160,000 (Canadian Dollar). Examples of 3 Well – Known Movie Theater/Cinema Franchising Companies in Canada are;

  • Rainbow Cinemas & Magic Lantern Theatres Franchise – Canada
  • Cineplex Cinema Franchise – Canada
  • Cinema Grill Franchise – Canada

In Australia, the Average Cost of Purchasing a Movie Theater/Cinema Franchise is AUD$160,000. Examples of 3 Well – Known Movie Theater/Cinema Franchising Companies in Australia are;

  • 9D Action CinemasFranchise- Australia
  • 7D Cinema Franchise – Australia
  • HOYTS CinemaFranchise – Australia