Phil Zacheretti, president and CEO of Phoenix Big Cinemas Management, LLC, was in Greeneville last Friday getting re-connected with Towne Crossing 8, one of his personal favorites in the movie theater chain he leads that extends from New York to California to Florida.
was in town to have lunch with Kent Bewley, who owns the property and the Towne Crossing 8 building that has been open on the U.S. 11E Bypass for six years.
, who lives in Knoxville, was also finalizing plans for an upcoming price break at Towne Crossing that he
thinks will offer his
customers value and a look at what he
says is the movie industry's best content (movies) in many years.
The Towne Crossing 8 "is doing good.
Our future here is good," Zacheretti
said, noting that his lease with Bewley continues for nine more years.
said that Towne Crossing is expanding its $5-per-ticket price on Tuesdays to offer that price from Monday through Thursday, beginning on Monday, March 5, and going through Thursday, March 29, for all movies except those of Sony Pictures
is doing good," Zacheretti
The company has been doing well in recent years, both nationwide and in Greeneville
"We're a product-driven industry -- it's the movies we have.
If the product is there -- that's it," he
said the movie theater business as a whole was "tremendous, record-setting" in 2008 and 2009, no small feat considering those years were the low-point of the severe recession that lingers to this day.
said 2010 was also very good.
One reason for the strength of those years for the movie business, he
said, is that going to the movies provides "one of the lowest-priced forms of entertainment in the world."
noted that movie theater turnstiles nationwide, and in Greeneville
, suffered a "bit of a dip" in 2011, something he
attributed to a downturn in the quality of the product from Hollywood.
BIG MOVIES SPARK RISE
All that has changed in the first two months of 2012, Zacheretti
said, with movie attendance 30 percent higher than those months in 2011.
expects that jump in interest from the movie-going public to continue for the rest of this year as well.
Three weeks ago saw the all-time biggest-grossing opening weekend in a non-holiday or summer for the movie industry, Zacheretti
That weekend included the opening of highly popular films such as "The Vow," "Safe House," "Journey 2," and "Star Wars
: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace 3D."
This summer will bring expected blockbusters "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Men In Black 3," Zacheretti
Zacheretti, a former executive with Regal Cinemas, also has ownership interests in Phoenix Big Cinemas theaters in Norfolk, Va., and Madisonville, Ky., he said.
said that the digital movie format is "a major part of our plan" for the Towne Crossing 8.
"We're making every effort to make it [digital] happen this year," he
A film connoisseur himself, Zacheretti
said that he
is convinced that "digital is a much superior production."
Furthermore, the use of film for movie production will cease to exist in about two years, he
said, a change that will be expedited by the recent bankruptcy filing of film-producer Eastman Kodak
"We have to convert [to digital] to stay open," he
Bewley asked Zacheretti
for his opinion of digital movies.
"They sound better, and have a better depth of color," Zacheretti
"Digital is just more of a real look."
In addition, he
said, "Digital print movies look just as good on the screen the thousandth time as on the first time, unlike film, which can develop scratches."
Details are important to Zacheretti
As an owner, he
emphasizes good customer service, cleanliness and good sight and sound.
That brand is Orville Redenbacher's, Zacheretti
said, launching into an explanation of the superior quality of that brand's kernel size and freshness.
"Popcorn's up in price 60 percent this year," Zacheretti
"So is chocolate.
In fact, candy is up 8 to 13 percent in the past few months," he
management style is big on details.
NO STRANGER HERE
frequent travels to Phoenix Big Cinemas theaters throughout the nation, Zacheretti
had not been to Greeneville
in almost a year until this past weekend, he
used to be here once a month, he
is no stranger.
has studied the Greene County market and keeps up with local economic news.
For example, he
cited the loss of jobs at Greene Valley Developmental Center
as a blow to the local economy.
was heartened to hear of the new US Nitrogen plant being built.