The best way to learn is to ask questions.  Therefore, we recommend that you consider attending an industry convention.  CinemaCon, NATO’s official convention, takes place in the spring at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.  The ShowEast convention occurs annually in the fall in Miami, Florida.  For further information regarding ShowEast, please call (646) 654-7680.  For Canadian exhibitors, the ShowCanada convention takes place in June. Call (416) 969-7057 for more information. All of these conventions will provide you an opportunity to meet with other exhibition personnel, ask questions and generally get a feel for the business.  For a full listing of exhibition industry conventions (including international, national, and regional shows) please visit the Events page on NATO’s website.

As far as we know, there is only one publication written that provides specific information on planning and designing a cinema. Our friends at the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) in Europe helped publish a 67-page book entitled “How to Design a Cinema Auditorium” by Rolv Gjestland (scroll down to the “Other publications” section). The intention of the book is to give architects, cinema owners and managers as well as other people involved in the process of planning and designing cinemas some support in the design process.

There are also a few media resources available to potential cinema owners/operators.  The official magazine of NATO is BoxOfficePRO, and their associated website (  Subscriptions to each are worthwhile investments.  Furthermore, NATO bi-annually publishes an online resource, the Encyclopedia of Exhibition.  You can find more information on the Encyclopedia of Exhibition, and subscribe to it, through the NATO website.

There are a number of companies that can assist you in developing either a marketing plan, or help you determine the feasibility of building a cinema in your area.  In addition to a consultant, we strongly encourage you to enlist the services of a professional buyer/booker.  The process of obtaining movie product (for any kind of operation, be it first run or discount) can be very involved, depending on the number of screens you intend to operate.  A good buyer/booker could make your company successful.  Done improperly or inefficiently, you will without question fail.  This is the meat and potatoes of your business.  We cannot stress this point more.

We know of several companies that specialize in assisting individuals to get started.  While we are happy to refer you to them, NATO does not take responsibility for the assistance they provide you.

Mike Doban, Arcangelo Entertainment, Inc., (818) 623-1015,

Chris Dugger and Mike Spaeth , Alerion Services – Hollywood and Bollywood (Indian) Film Booking, Theatre Management Services (678) 364-1150,

Steve Felperin, Theatre Service Network, [email protected]

Jan Herring, Consulting, (540) 929-4173, fax: (540) 929-4042,

Robin Miller, Renovation Consultant and Film Booker, (770) 846-1576, [email protected]

Bruce M. Taffet, Taffet & Associates, LLC, office: (303) 840-9642, cell: (303) 475-7008, [email protected]

Howard Taormino, Theatre Services Unlimited, (610) 933-3234, [email protected]

Bruce Thompson, Thompson Booking Agency, (469) 698-0019, [email protected]

We hope if you decide to open a cinema, you will join NATO.  Good luck with your endeavors.