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Theater goes subscription-based to stay alive

A group of local residents in Oakhurst, Ca., have come up with an innovative subscription-based financial plan to save their theater.

Two months ago, the Met Cinema shut down. It was the only movie theater in the small, central California community of Oakhurst. Like lots of smaller movie theaters around the country, the Met just couldn't make enough money to say in business.

But a group of local residents have come up with an innovative subscription-based financial plan to save their theater. It works like this: For $20 a month, theater-goers get unlimited access to movie showings -- and maybe even some influence on the lineup.

Sounds like a good deal for viewers, but can the theater survive on the new model?

"The primary income for any theater is actually based on the concessions," says James Nelson, one of the locals heading up the new theater plan. "A good portion of the ticket [price] that actually goes toward the studios. The concessions will definitely support the theater."

To hear more about how the Met Cinema plans to stay up to date in the digital age, click on the audio player above.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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