TheaterTILT Reviving Movie Magic

Imagine getting to see your favorite movie on the big screen just one more time. New startup TheaterTILT creates a crowdfunding platform of sorts to bring classic movies, foreign films and independents to local theaters for a one-time showing event.

Ghostbusters will be the first movie to make a comeback with a social and showing scheduled for this Thursday, June 11 starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Drexel Theatre in Bexley. From there, it’s up to Columbus to decide.

Serial entrepreneur and mind behind the platform, Guy Jacks explains how TheaterTilt works.

“Say you wanted to see Jurassic Park, you would go on to the site and start a campaign for Jurassic Park,” Jacks says. “You would try to leverage social networks and our own community to get other people to vote to see it.”

Platform subscribers will “vote” for the movie by pre-buying a ticket.

“But they only pay if the movie gets screened,” Jacks notes. If a movie gets enough votes, it will “tilt” and a date and time will be set for the screening. Each event will incorporate a themed, pre-screening social as well. Jacks wants to bring in a social component to make it more than just watching a movie.

To get a film to tilt, Jacks need about 40 committed movie-goes purchasing tickets at around $7.50 a pop. It normally costs between $250 – $325 to get a movie from a distributor. However, if a movie gets about 20 votes, the platform will likely tilt the movie assuming each of those individuals would likely bring another person.

When an individual starts a campaign it’s largely up to them to get the word out and get votes (and TheaterTILT will help, too) but they have nearly an infinite amount of time to do so.

“There’s really no reason to cut the campaign off,” Jacks says. Unlike platforms such as Kickstarter where an individual is trying to get something to market, a campaign can slowly garner interest.

For now, TheaterTILT is working with the Drexel, but Jacks would love to work with the Grandview Theater, Studio 35 and The South Campus Gateway.

“Those are the four independent theaters in Columbus,” he says. “We think that the art theaters are our sweet spot.”

The idea for TheaterTILT was rather simple. While bouncing around ideas with other entrepreneurs, Jacks thought it would be cool to be see content in theaters you normally can’t see.

“We agreed to do it because it’s easy to build, and it’s either going to fail really fast or show promise really fast,” he says.

Getting the platform up and running hasn’t been without its challenges. In a test-run, Jurassic Park was initially voted the movie to see. A scheduling conflict bumped the initial showing back, then in anticipation of the new Jurassic World film, Jurassic Park was pulled from availability before the event could be rescheduled.

Perseverance prevailed and Jacks decided it was time to get something going, starting with Ghostbusters.

After Thursday’s event, functionality will be added to the website so patrons can request movies. From there, TheaterTILT will hand-pick the top suggestions and maybe add a few of their own and open it up for votes to get things rolling (just votes, not pre-buying tickets). Full campaign functionality is about six months out.

Jacks has lofty goals for the platform, hoping to get to the point of one movie a week at each of the four theaters. Forty movies and 10,000 users in Columbus are his benchmarks for scalability. If TheaterTILT hits that magnitude, it’s validation and on to raising funds.

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