Q. There are tons of music and entertainment venues around New England. How does Showcase Live fill a niche?
A. It's going to be a much more sophisticated, intimate, and luxurious environment than exists anywhere else. The experience is going to be at a much higher VIP level. VIP packages will include concierge services and reserved tables for events.
Q.Why is live entertainment necessary for National Amusements?
A. There isn't any movie theater business out there today that doesn't have to re invent itself. We've been successful in what we've done in the theaters by bringing alternative programming and by bringing live entertainment. The feedback we've gotten from live entertainment is that people really love it, and that was where we came up with this idea for a live music-comedy venue.
Q. Why Patriot Place?
A. We spent a lot of time looking at what would be the ideal first location to launch the project, and of course, there's nothing more well-known and more prominent and more accessible in the area than Patriot Place in Foxborough.
Q. Cinema chains like National Amusements make most of their money from concessions. Will the Showcase Live business model be the same?
A. A lot of revenue will come from concessions, and that's why it's really important to us to provide great food, to have signature cocktails, and to really make it a place people will want to go to all the time, not just to see the great talent but to have a wonderful dining experience.
Q. How does Showcase Live fit in with the overall long-term vision of the cinema business?
A. I'm looking at creating entertainment destinations within our theaters right now and this would be a wonderful adjunct to that business. We will be looking at it as a stand-alone business and you might see Showcase Live where you don't see one of our Cinema De Lux theaters. And I look at expanding not only domestically but around the world. This would be a great concept for Russia and South America where people love entertainment, they love to go out in the evenings. We look at this as our flagship, but also an opportunity to learn and figure out where we could take it next.
Q. Would you consider converting cinemas into Showcase Live venues?
A. It would really be hard to re-create this merely by retrofitting an existing auditorium. That doesn't mean that we wouldn't add a new facility to a place where we have an existing theater. But to do this right, we really need to build it from scratch.
Q. Your father has long expressed doubts over the long-term viability of the movie business. What does he think about this new venture?
A. I'm sure that he'd be really proud of what we're doing here today. We're reinventing the business and doing everything that we can to not only ensure the success in what we do, but getting involved in new concepts and building new businesses and continuing the success of the company that was started by my grandfather.
Q. How do you feel about your father's critical letter that was posted to Forbes's website last summer?
A. I'm not going to comment on any personal relationship issues.
Q. Is your father still trying to negotiate a buyout of your 20 percent stake in National Amusements?
A. I'm not going to comment on any personal business issues.
Q. When was the last time you saw your father?
A. You don't want to keep asking me questions that I'm not going to answer.
Q. The popular video game Grand Theft Auto IV is being unveiled this week and could be the most lucrative launch in entertainment history, beating out any movie debut. How does that make you feel, being in the movie business?
A. I used to say when I first came into this business that I was competing with other movie theaters. Then I realized I was competing with all out-of-home entertainment. Then I realized I was competing with out-of-home entertainment and in-home entertainment. And now I'm competing for people's time. The video game business is something that's strong and certainly something our patrons are very interested in. But that is why we are focused on giving our patrons a compelling reason to go to the movie theaters. That is why we provide a VIP experience, why we have luxe level service, so people can have martinis and food in the auditoriums. That is why we have Showcase Live. We know we have a lot of competition out there and we don't stay there with our head in the sand.