May 16, 2024 - 0 Comments - Development -

Video: Rooftop Cinema Club Founder and CEO Gerry Cottle, Head of Real Estate Aly Dean on Creating New Revenue Streams from Underutilized CRE Space

Video: Exploring Rooftop Cinema Club; A Unique Fusion of Film and Real Estate

The recent episode of “America’s Commercial Real Estate Show” delved into an innovative concept transforming underutilized urban spaces: Rooftop Cinema Club. This conversation, featuring Gerry Cottle, the founder and CEO, and Aly Dean, the head of real estate development at Rooftop Cinema Club, highlighted the unique blend of cinema and real estate that this company offers.

The Concept: A Cinematic Experience in the Sky

Rooftop Cinema Club began in London in 2011, providing an open-air film experience that quickly gained popularity despite the unpredictable weather. The concept was simple yet novel: classic and contemporary films are shown on rooftops, enhanced by stunning city views and a social atmosphere. By 2015, the concept was brought to the U.S., starting in New York and quickly expanding to cities like Hollywood, San Diego, Houston, and Miami.

Versatility in Venues

One of the standout features of Rooftop Cinema Club is its flexibility regarding venue locations. The company is not tied to a specific type of rooftop. Instead, it can adapt to various structures, including hotels, office buildings, parking decks, and even tennis courts. The primary requirement is a good view, which enhances the overall experience for the audience. This adaptability allows the company to repurpose underutilized spaces, turning them into vibrant social hubs.

Partnership with Property Owners

For property owners, Rooftop Cinema Club offers a unique opportunity to monetize unused spaces. The company typically enters into long-term leases, viewing these partnerships as mutually beneficial. Property owners gain a unique amenity that attracts visitors and tenants, while Rooftop Cinema Club secures a location for their events. The setup process involves some tenant improvements, often shared between the property owner and Rooftop Cinema Club, including structural reinforcements and utility installations.

Creating a Social Cinema Experience

Rooftop Cinema Club differentiates itself from traditional cinemas by offering more than just a movie. It’s an entire evening out, complete with delicious food, crafted cocktails, and a social environment where attendees can play games and engage in conversations before the movie starts. This “social cinema” approach transforms a simple film screening into a memorable event, appealing to a broad audience, from families to date-night couples.

Technological Adaptations

A unique aspect of the Rooftop Cinema Club experience is the use of wireless headphones. This innovation stemmed from a need to avoid disturbing nearby residents and has since become a signature feature. The headphones not only provide high-quality sound but also eliminate common cinema distractions, such as rustling snack bags and talking patrons.

Programming and Audience Engagement

The film selection at Rooftop Cinema Club is diverse, ranging from beloved classics to recent releases. Audience engagement is also a priority, with opportunities for attendees to vote on movie choices. The company supports various film genres, including women in film and black cinema, ensuring a broad and inclusive program. Last year, they showcased 400 movies, emphasizing their dedication to providing diverse and engaging content.

Economic and Marketing Impact

The presence of Rooftop Cinema Club can significantly boost local economies. By attracting hundreds of visitors, often on traditionally quiet nights, they bring new business to surrounding restaurants and bars. Moreover, the visually appealing setup of the cinema is a magnet for social media influencers, providing valuable marketing exposure for both the cinema and its host location.

Future Expansion

Rooftop Cinema Club plans to continue expanding, with a goal of opening 20 more venues across the U.S. in the next four years. This ambitious growth plan underscores the company’s confidence in its unique concept and the demand for innovative entertainment experiences.


Rooftop Cinema Club is a prime example of how creativity and strategic partnerships can revitalize underutilized urban spaces. By offering a unique blend of high-quality cinema, social interaction, and stunning views, it has carved out a niche in the entertainment and real estate markets. For property owners looking to enhance their assets and communities seeking new entertainment options, Rooftop Cinema Club presents a compelling opportunity. As they continue to expand, more cities and property owners will likely find themselves eager to join this cinematic journey in the sky.