Commercial exhibs see merit in programming at least a smattering of specialty movies among their other, more commercial offerings. Some appear particularly bullish, keying on the graying baby boomer generation and a succession of recent crossover hits such as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Bend It Like Beckham.”

Stats were culled from interviews with circuit reps, who estimated the number of screens dedicated to indie films, based on a definition that included both pics from truly independent distribs and those from studio specialty units.


Total (domestic) screens: 3,134
Screens playing indie film: 461 (15%)
Strategy: Circuit finds it implicit in the megaplex approach to offer cinema auds as many different films as possible.


Total screens: 405
Screens playing indie film: 40 (10%)
Strategy: Mix of commercial and specialty titles varies by location. Pacific’s ArcLight venue in Hollywood regularly programs 50% of its 14 screens with indie titles.


Total screens: 1,450
Screens playing indie film: 100 (7%)
Strategy: Select theaters have screens programmed with indie films, but the number of screens playing such pics rises and falls seasonally. Circuit also has nine arthouse multiplexes.


Total screens: 900
Screens playing indie film: 60 (7%)
Strategy: Circuit programs indie film at commercial venues in sizeable markets where it hasn’t yet opened a CineArts arthouse.


Total screens: 2,218
Screens playing indie film: 100 (5%)
Strategy: Exhib bumps up its number of indie screens seasonally.


Total screens: 6,103
Screens playing indie film: 152 (2.5%)
Strategy: Regal brands its indie offerings as Regal Cinema Art and operates 11 multiplexes that program nothing but specialty product.


Total screens: 2,253
Screens playing indie film: 10 (less than 1%)
Strategy: Largely rural exhib deems most of its markets unconducive for specialty pics, though Carmike does hold indie film festivals in the spring and fall in a handful of college towns.