CAB movies profitless

By Stephanie Bradley

The Campus Activities Board has failed to make a profit on films for the past two years.

CAB president Tracy Stitzel said CAB films inherited a deficit from last year and this year films have only broken even.

Even though a movie might make money, those profits are already allocated to other programming, Stitzel said.

CAB writes deficit checks for these programs before the organization actually gets the money for them, she said. As soon as the profits come in, they already have been spent, Stitzel said.

Ticket prices could be raised, but CAB does not want that to happen, she said. “We don’t want to make a profit,” she said.

Newer or more popular films (like the upcoming “Untouchables”) cost $900 to $1,000 each while less expensive films cost $500 to $600 each, said Matt Kelley, CAB’s vice president of internal affairs. After the film is shown, the film company gets half the revenue, he said.

The rest of the funds that are left will go to ticket sellers, shipping and cartoon rental, and the trailers which precede each film, films coordinator John McLaughlin said.

After that money is spent, “as long as (the films division) is self-supporting, any money that’s made by CAB is put back into other programming,” Kelley said.

This is what is known as mid-level budgeting, Stitzel said. Money from films is allocated to CAB, which is then allocated back to programs that need it, such as the Coffeehouse budget.

Some of the activities that receive mid-level funds are Coffeehouse, Homecoming, promotion for Parents’ Day, travel and speakers, Kelley said.

In fall 1987, gross sales for films was $4,061.50, McLaughlin said. After the ticket sales costs, shipping, cartoon rental and trailers, the amount allocated for mid-level was $1,427.70, he said.

“We expect spring profits to be higher,” McLaughlin said. This is because the big films from the previous summer are available, and there is a limited amount of quality films available for fall, he said.

Older movies are now being shown on Saturdays since that day has generally lost money, McLaughlin said. “Most of the time the account is in deficit,” Kelley said.

According to the fiscal year 1989 budget, speakers are a major part of CAB programming. Speakers are brought to NIU on a mid-level and a regular basis, Stitzel said. The speakers committee allots money to other groups so they can have speakers, she said.

Regular speakers—those who come for the Speakers Committee and not other groups—are obtained by negotiation, Stitzel said. At first, agents are contacted to see who is available, she said. CAB tries to get speakers who are available during the prime programming months, such as Black History Month or speakers who are well-known or popular, she said.

CAB will try to bargain the price of the speaker down to the budget, Stitzel said.

When the committee decides who they want, a promotional package is written up, Stitzel said. A proposal is then written, which details every cost the speaker could incur and the date of speech, she said.

The speaker proposals are then brought before the CAB staff for approval to avoid programming conflicts and costs, Stitzel said. If the list is passed, a contract is drawn up, she said.

The average speaker costs $3,000, with CAB spending no more than $6,000, Stitzel said. The number of speakers will be reduced to get a better, more expensive speaker, such as former Chicago Bear Gary Fencik, she said.