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Julie and Robert Borchard-Young
Cofounders, BY Experience

Now Playing: It's Not the Movies

Can the Movie Theater Be Saved? While Hollywood sticks with the same old ideas--bigger, pricier blockbusters--these outsiders are making real changes.

Julie and Robert Borchard-Young

Cofounders, BY Experience

This married couple's company beams "alternative content"--opera, live stage plays, art exhibits, basically anything other than movies--to movie theaters and performance spaces in more than 60 countries.

The Curators

Julie: It's crucial that as audiences have become more fractured and more niche that they are not left alone to enjoy their art in private.

Robert: Our shows bring in a different audience. The older audience is not catered to in the popcorn houses anymore.

Julie: When we started our fine-art programming with a show on Leonardo da Vinci, in 2011, we were completely unsure if the big screen could replicate walking around a gallery. But audiences not only wanted to see fine art--they wanted more. We do a slow contemplative camera maneuver on the paintings.

Robert: But it's not just for an older crowd; it's for anyone currently not going to the theater. In 2010, we beamed out a concert by Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. I told the director, "Remember, you're shooting for the big screen--don't cut as fast. Leave the camera on the guitarist during his solo." Kids in the theaters started to mosh. They felt as if they were really there. This married couple's company beams "alternative content"--opera, live stage plays, art exhibits, basically anything other than movies--to movie theaters and performance spaces in more than 60 countries. Julie and Robert Borchard-Young Cofounders, BY Experience the curators

Julie: It expands what people think a movie theater can offer. To build trust, we're highly selective with our shows. You'd be surprised what comes our way that we say no to.

Robert: Producers of an event call us. We talk about the date. For a one-off rock concert, we'll talk about what the artist is willing to give us--will the artist tweet about it, do interviews? Then we'll oversee the distribution to theaters via satellite. Say it's a $20 ticket. The cinemas get 50%, and our half is divvied up between BY Experience and the content producers.

Julie: I'm knocking on a lot of wood here: We've never lost money on an event.


Fast Talk: Can the Movie Theater Be Saved?

[Photo by Samantha Casolari]

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