Ernst Boehringer

Contributors

Ernst Boehringer was an owner of numerous theaters in the New Orleans area who eventually became an integral part of the New Orleans Independent exchange market on behalf of Triangle films, and the primary Triangle distributor throughout the Southern region.

Exhibition Career

According to Moving Picture World, Beohringer began building his exhibition career in Baton Rouge, but as time passed he concentrated more and more upon the prize of New Orleans, building his interests in the city theater by theater, a conglomerate that was incorporated in 1915 under the title of Columbia Amusement Company. In 1916, Boehringer struck a service deal Triangle to allow their films to be shown in his string of movie houses throughout Louisiana. At the time, Boehringer planned to assign first-run service to Triangle Theater, one of his “big legitimate houses” in New Orleans. At the same time, Boehringer embarked on the project of remodeling the Colombia theater, a $15,000 enterprise meant to provide a home for his second-run service. Finally, his third-run service would circulate through his theaters outside “the city” of New Orleans.

Several months later, after having solidified his role in the Triangle exchange, Boehringer capitalized his interests under the name of Boehringer Amusement Company, with an initial investment of $125,000, backed by such investors as Alex Grouchy and A. F. Cazedessus, both of Baton Rouge. At this point, Boehringer’s star was clearly on the rise. His control over Triangle’s Southern film market was growing, his Triangle Theater had made an astonishing turn-around from a “low-class burlesque” theater to one of the most popular in the city, and his remodeled Liberty theater, soon to open its doors, was described by Moving Picture World as “the most complete motion picture theater in the South” [1] .

Work With Triangle

Boehringer spearheaded the move to bring Triangle into the New Orleans exchange market by opening an exchange within his Triangle Theater building and using the theater itself to project Triangle offerings to prospective buyers. A mere ten days after the inauguration of this new exchange, Boehringer announced that twelve local theaters, including the College and Princess, besides his own Columbia theater, had arranged for second-run Triangle service; first-run service was reserved for his own Triangle theater. Boehringer apparently struck a hard bargain, constricting sale of Triangle service to those exhibitors he deemed both stable and large enough to “derive the maximum benefit from Triangle pictures…which he [was] not offering cheap.” [2] This move preceded Triangle’s opening a larger exchange to cover the rest of the Southern territory, “exclusive of that covered by Boehringer’s present exchange,” which was slated to take place later in 1916.

In November 1916, Boehringer acquired rights to Triangle Film Service, not only in New Orleans, but in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Memphis, North Florida, and West Alabama. This coup of a deal gave him full charge of distributing Triangle films in the territory, and made him half-owner of the profits of all films there released. This news was well-received by local exchange managers, because a success on the part of Southern Paramount, Boehringer’s main competitor, may well have squeezed them out of the New Orleans market. At this time, Boehringer began considering proposals to expand Triangle Theater’s monopoly on first-run Triangle service. November also marked the beginning of a concerted newspaper advertising campaign to heighten public awareness of Triangle’s offerings.

By 1917, Boehringer was understood to be at the head of Triangle presence in the New Orleans exchange [3] . In the same year, Moving Picture World noted that Triangle theater was consistently breaking local attendance records, a fact taken as a sign both of Boehringer’s business acumen and the rising popularity of motion pictures in the area [4] .

Works Cited

  • “Boehringer Interests Capitalized,” Moving Picture World, October 28, 1916.
  • “Triangle in New Orleans,” Moving Picture World, March 4, 1916.
  • “New Orleans Exchangemen,” Moving Picture World, March 25, 1919
  • “Triangle Popular Here,” Moving Picture World, March 25, 1919.

This page was last modified on 27 April 2012, at 03:48