Suns Cinema Coming to Mt. Pleasant Launches Kickstarter

3107 Mt. Pleasant Street, NW

Suns Cinema hoping to come to Mt. Pleasant has launched their kickstarter:

“After years of searching for a suitable venue, we’ve signed a lease for a space ideally located on Mt. Pleasant street, just a few blocks away from the Columbia Heights Metro Station.

And, while the space is great, it’s going to require a lot of work. The location was previously set up for retail and will have to be totally repurposed for use as a theater. As with any theater, we will need to install projection equipment, seating, proper lighting and the sound dampening system necessary to be a responsible neighbor. Beyond this, we hope to make Suns Cinema a relaxing and comfortable venue and will need to update the facilities. We also have to navigate our way through the city’s regulations and licensing which takes time and money. This is where we need your help!

What you should expect from Suns

Although obtaining screening rights can be difficult and often expensive, we plan on programming great movies – some obscure, some familiar, all interesting. However, there are no plans to limit the screenings and events to movies only. We also plan to screen vintage television, animated shorts, and classic sportscasts while collaborating with local chefs and bartenders to bring creative food and beverage pairings to these features.

Our vision is to offer programming similar to this:

This is a mock-up calendar. NOT ACTUAL SHOWTIMES

You can read more and contribute here.

30 Comment

  • “we found a place and want to make a cinema but don’t have the money to do so, please give us some? we used to screen movies in our group home so it should be easy to run a business, right?” doesn’t exactly rouse high confidence in the business model for this cinema.

    Should we start speculating what’ll take over the sun cinema place already or do we at least wait until the end of the kickstarter?

    • I’ll never understand free financing for somebody else’s business. These guys have signed a lease already? They probably spent more time coming up with the fictitious programming schedule than examining demographics and formulating a business plan. Give to charities instead (i.e. St Baldrick’s).

      • I donated to the cat cafe kickstarter because the owner obviously has her ish together regarding business plans and the rewards seem pretty good by kickstarter standards! Plus, it might actually help get some cats adopted. Good kickstarters are pretty rare, though

    • You raise a valid point… but from the neighborhood perspective, something that will at least fill one of the empty storefronts in Mt P with a cool community-minded business is worth a shot, even if it fails in a year. I’ll patronize it once it opens, so I figure kicking them a few bucks in exchange for some tickets to help get it off the ground is exactly the point.

    • I’m sure what I’m about to say will earn me some angry responses from people who seem to think that it’s insensitive to suggest that more businesses in Mt. P. should reflect the significant demographic changes that the neighborhood has undergone and continues to undergo, but I will give this completely half-a**ed endeavor some money because, if only for a while, something interesting and different will go into this space. That as opposed to, well, the sort of place of which there are already numerous examples on Mt. P. St.

    • the partners in suns cinema are already Mt pleasant business owners and have run a successful business for years. for the record.

      • maybe they should lead with that? people would probably be more likely to donate if they provided that they had a proven business already. I’d rather donate to a kickstarter that says “Hey, we’re these guys from this successful store in the neighborhood. we are passionate about Mt.P and film. We think this would be a great addition to the neighborhood. here’s what we need..” instead of “hey, we organized a movie night in our group house. give me money so i can by a wine glass in the shape of a palm tree and a comfy arm chair with a teak wood cup holder. we have to have it!”

  • Won’t the MtP NIMBYs will thwart this quickly?

  • As I Jean-Pierre Melville fan, I salute you, aspiring cinema owner.

  • whatever, you had me at muppets and mimosas. sign me up!

  • This Kickstarter thing is out of control. I’d love to see their business plan : “Sign lease, receive large financial gift from rich residents, operate for 2 years on said capital, close up and enroll in business school”

    • …but I guess if people are willing to give them (or any of the numerous kickstarter businesses around town) money then more power to them

  • To the folks who are against kickstarters for private businesses, I used to feel this way too. But the more I think about it, the more I’m starting to change my tune. Does this approach go against the principles of free market competition? Absolutely. But do you realize how hard it is for small independent businesses like this to get a foot in the door? It’s daunting. That’s why so many small business owners choose to open up franchises instead. So if this allows small, independent, community oriented businesses (see Each Peach) to open up on MtP rather than boring chains, I’m all for it. Think of it as capitalism with a communitarian twist.

    • seriously – so much better than than the Subway that’s coming… uhhhh.

    • Kickstarters do not go against the principles of free market competition, it’s just that there are already established, prevalent means for getting funding– namely taking out a small business loan from a financial institution. A bank will probably be able to secure a loan for far more than $12,500 with a decent business plan in place and good credit. For instance, an SBA Microloan can provide up to $35,000. There is nothing noble about running a business on a shoe-string budget, especially a movie theatre, which requires significant capital to secure rights to show movies, extensive research on local film preferences, and funds to advertise even before the theatre opens.

      • Well, if you consider that an essential feature of capitalism is the investment of money in order to make a profit, then giving free money to a to a business start-up most certainly violates free market principles. Free market principles are the ones you just described — going to a bank, who will lend you money and charge you interest.

  • Remember Cause the Philanthropub. They had a kickstarter. How long did they last?

  • I find many of these comments and the owners of the comments to be absurdly cynical and highly assumptive. You have no idea if they are already business owners; you have no idea what their business plans entail; and you have CLEARLY no idea how much start up money new businesses take. Kickstarter is probably a drop in the bucket. It sounds like some of you just want to complain about something. I’ve been reading about West End and the truth of the matter is that unfortunately it’s becoming more and more difficult for truly independent movie theaters that actually show provocative film, not blockbusters, to exist in this highly competitive market. I think this a boon for our neighborhood – that I have a LOT of PRIDE in – and for people who want to bravely start something innovative. (I wish I were this brave.) Seriously, go mope somewhere else and let readers decide for themselves, trolls.

    • “You have no idea if they are already business owners; you have no idea what their business plans entail; and you have CLEARLY no idea how much start up money new businesses take.”
      I think that’s part of the problem. The Kickstarter page does not provide any information as to what the business plan is, what experience the proprietors have in running a business, and how much money it will actually take (beyond the $12,500) to open it. Here’s an example of a better Kickstarter page for a cinema:

      • Yes, thank you for sharing

      • Yes, mouse, this brings me to another thought. Kickstarter can be difficult to persuade to allow your pitch on their site. They’ll only accept you if they think you will reach your goal so then they make their cut. They must have noticed that DC people will back nearly anything, hence the low bar.

  • For the record, the potential proprietors are already Mount Pleasant business owners, and successful ones at that.

  • I always think its amusing when people don’t understand the kickstarter concept and slam the business idea…if you don’t like it, than just don’t contribute!

    I also know nothing about these guys, but think the concept is awesome. $28 for 3 free movie tickets when they open, and helping the business get started, seems like a winner to me, I don’t need to see their balance sheet. Great way to help them reduce what they’re going to have to finance.

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