Cinemavision president Bill Woosley predicts that by the first of the year, between 40 and 50 per cent of local theaters will dispense commercials along with the popcorn.
By the end of 1978, 95 per cent of American movie houses will run the ads, forecasts Woosley.
Several local theater owners are more skeptical. Jim Pedas of the Circle theaters said "no" 10 times when asked if his theaters would ever screen such stuff. To clear up any doubts, he added, "We would never run a commercial in any of our theaters."
Marvin Goldman of the K-B Theaters said his chain was abstaining - "We'll wait and see how the public responds." Paul Roth of the Roth chain said he has "no present plans" to unclude the commercials and declined to characterize this as another "wait-and-see" attitude.
Of six local chains surveyed, only one - Showcase Theaters - acknowledged the likelihood of installing the commercials. Showcase general manager Don Nettee said, "We're scratching for ways to keep from passing rising costs on to patrons" and commercials might be such a way. Nettee expects to decide which firm will supply his commercials within a month, but right now he's leaing toward Screenvision. Only Screenvision, he says, has shown him its work.
Cinemavision president Woosley says he wouldn't expect theater owners to commit themselves to commercials publicly before contracts are signed. And he acknowledges that the first wave of his commercials - a test market in 1,000 theaters later this month - will miss Washington because Washington is not "typical" enough to serve as a valid test market. The large majority of blacks in the District and the "ungodly" high incomes of some of the suburbs disqualify Washington, says Woosley.
Woosley likes to stress how his commercials are different - read "higher class" - than television commercials, patially because the movie audience is thought to be more sophisticated than the TV hordes. He will not use star endorsements, he says, and his visual style will be more like "little movies."
The principal stockholder and chairman of the board of Woosley's firm is Sam Lovullo. Lovullo also produces the television series "Hee Haw."