The number of past, present and future business ideas is infinite. Often time we have discussions on business ideas, and we shall always do. In Zimbabwe, I have noticed that countless business ideas are being slept on. Today I want us to explore the movie house business. I believe it is a business idea full of unlimited prospects in Zimbabwe. I have been to every province in Zimbabwe and observed that many places do not have movie houses. It is as if movie houses are mainly confined to or are meant for only Harare and Bulawayo.

Key Approaches

The idea is to either construct a movie house or find a place to turn it into a movie house. The former might be costly, but it is worth a shot. Plus, running the movie house will afford you more freedom and flexibility. The second option is one I would recommend most of you consider. It is an interesting option because I know of many places that have infrastructure that can be turned into movie houses. There are also places with actual movie houses that stopped functioning years ago. I know of a place called Mashava, where I was born and grew up in. There are two movie houses which have not been used for decades. So look around with those options in mind.

Another creative option is outdoor movie screening. Imagine people watching movies on big screens outdoors at night. Personally, I would love that setup of watching it from inside or on top of my car. Essentially, cars get to the park lined up so that people can watch from their cars. These are possible approaches to consider, and Zimbabweans are waiting for this in many places. Do not forget Zimbabweans love entertainment, especially the kind they can enjoy with their loved ones. I just gave you basic approaches here, but you can tweak them into countless other ones.

Key Equipment Requirements

What you will need largely depends on the approach you choose. Comparatively, outdoor screening might be the easiest. However, it requires you to get a convenient spot. You would not want a space where anyone can easily poach from a distance. Plus you would need adequate car parking space. Regardless, it is not always about actually owning the land. You can enter working agreements with someone who already has land. There could be companies with already convenient spaces you can use for outdoor movie screenings. Anyways, despite whichever approach you use, there are basic items of equipment you will need. Examples are:

Digital Projectors

Sound System


Projector Screens

Sound Panelling And Acoustics Equipment

Equipment For Concessions

Key Importance Of Concessions In A Movie House Business

The business model for a movie house business chiefly comprises ticket sales. However, there is more that can be included to realize more revenue. That is where concessions come in. In fact, much more revenue can be realized from concessions than from tickets. All in all, a well-run movie house business can bring tens of thousands of US dollars in a year. Concessions mainly refer to snacks, drinks, or other convenient food items people want during a movie.

The most common ones are popcorn, ice cream, chips, and drinks. I have also seen a smart approach where a restaurant can be onsite. People can then choose to eat something before or after the movie. Concessions are often premium-priced but still sell like hotcakes. In order to produce top-quality stuff, you need to have the proper equipment. Such equipment can be popcorn machines, ice cream machines, blenders, juicers, and the like.

Market Dynamics

The market in Zimbabwe for movie houses is limitless. Under normal circumstances, movie houses should be a common feature anywhere you go. They are not specially meant for only central business districts of major cities. Any place, even a neighbourhood, can have a thriving movie house. Recently in Masvingo CBD, at Junior Complex, a movie house was opened. To think that there was no movie house to speak of all these years in Masvingo. Charles Austin Theatre would have had the capacity to be a successful movie house. I do not quite know why they were not utilizing it, given it already has the infrastructure.

The point is there are so many gaps in the market countrywide; they need you to fill them. The other time I saw some complaints regarding the notable movie houses you know in Harare and Bulawayo. Someone even showed pictures of soiled seats and dirty floors. That deterioration in standards also widens those gaps. The bottom line is that the market is there; it needs serious players to step in.

Important Things To Consider

Another key addition to consider is a gaming arcade. That can diversify your income and ensure the place is always abuzz. Think also of selling movie merchandise or memorabilia if you can source it. I just thought I should add that.

You must properly register the business and ensure insurance is in order. Pertinent to screening movies is screening rights; make sure you have legit screening rights. Just screening movies without being licensed can get you in serious trouble. I have often seen people ridiculing ZBC for screening average or very old movies. It is all about not having the right to screen films. Once you are a commercial entity and wish to screen a movie to an audience, you must acquire (i.e. pay for) screening rights.

The movie house business is being slept on in Zimbabwe. I sincerely hope this article will inspire some people to take up this venture seriously. Let movie houses become a common feature everywhere you go in Zimbabwe. Sadly, many people have never set foot inside a movie house. Another thing local movie productions can also easily gain traction if more movie houses emerge.