We are happy to offer field trips to school groups at more than a 50% discount ($6 drink/private showing/popcorn for groups over 50, $7 under 50) from our normal prices, but we understand that not knowing what will be playing in 2 months can make scheduling a trip difficult. This blog should explain the WHY behind some of the things that cause you frustration.
WHY WE DO NOT KNOW MONTHS/WEEKS IN ADVANCE WHAT MOVIE WILL BE SHOWING.
o We typically get our confirmation for the week (Friday-Thursday) on the Wednesday before. We might have some idea on the Monday before, but this isn’t always the case. To illustrate: on Wednesday the 29th, we get the confirmation for Friday the 31st.
o The studios make decisions about what comes/goes based on performance and upcoming releases. This can vary widely from week to week, so they often cannot decide far in advance. We only have 5 screens, so we cannot use a small screen to hold movies for weeks like some of the bigger theaters.
o If the date is near (within 2-3 weeks) the release of a kid’s movie, we should still have it. Most movies are required to stay at least 2 weeks, but kids movies are usually pretty successful and can stay as many as 7-8 depending on what else comes out.
o IMDB.com can give you lots of information about a movie including why it obtained a particular rating. Many movies include parental notes on all of the specific “incidents.”
o G rated movies are incredibly rare these days. If you require a G rated movie, your only option may be to show an older movie.
o If you need to know the movie title before you can book the trip, we can arrange to show an older film.
WHY WE NEED A DRINK REQUEST:
o We prepare your drinks/popcorn before you arrive. This helps speed up your trip. We want this to be as stress free as possible for you. When we have the drinks/popcorn ready, you can enter with your kids and go straight into the theater. We can have your movie playing in 10-15 minutes if all goes smoothly. We discussed this with many teachers and the consensus was that filling their own drinks was generally a disaster. We also use this drink request to make sure you are put in an appropriately sized auditorium.
o Our biggest cost is in the concession items so we don’t want to prepare for kids that aren’t coming.
o We also use the drink order as a confirmation that you are coming. We’ve had groups in the past just show up for a trip they never confirmed. This is bad for everyone.
WHY WE ASK YOU TO BRING IN YOUR KIDS BY DRINK or KEEP A LIST OF DRINK REQUESTS
o When we prepare the drinks, we typically separate them by drink type “cokes on one table, sprite on another, etc.” It goes much faster when everyone knows where they are going. We also prepare the numbers you send us. We know it’s not a perfect system and kids will change their minds as they come through the line. If you have a list, you can help them remember what they requested. We charge you for the number of drinks we prepare.
WHY WE REQUIRE THE FIELD TRIP REQUEST FORM EVEN IF YOU EMAIL US EXPRESSING INTEREST
o This form keeps everything uniform and comes from you. It helps us keep the details straight so that we can make sure we have room for you. It also officially reserves your spot. We have many people ask if a certain date is available but never follow up. We’ve even had people who ask about a specific date show up for a trip without giving us any details about coming. This form just helps us be on the same page.
WHY WE NEED YOU TO COME AT YOUR SCHEDULED TIME
o When a trip is scheduled outside of our regular schedule, we have staff come in just for this trip. We typically do not make much, if any, money on these trips and the longer our staff is there, the higher our costs.
o If we have public shows scheduled after your trip, your movie will have to be stopped in order for us to get the public in on time.
o If we have other trips scheduled for the same day, they have a specific time scheduled to come and if you arrive early/late, we may not be able to get to your group quickly.
WHY WE CAN’T GIVE YOU A DISCOUNT
o It costs us several hundred dollars to run the theater, even if are just showing the movie. We are already providing the trip option as a service to the community because it is important to us for kids to have this opportunity. Most of our staff comes from the local school system and understand the difficulty these schools experience when it comes to money. We do have some ways we can help so if cost is the only issue, send us an email and we can discuss some options.
WHY WE NEED TO KNOW IF PARENTS ARE COMING:
o We operate with a small staff to keep field trips affordable. It can still cost us several hundred dollars to have a trip because of the basic operating costs affiliated with running the movie. It isn’t just turning on a tv and pushing play. If we know that you have parents coming, we know that we need to have additional staff on hand to process their transactions.
Field trip information can be found on our website. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.