The pandemic placed tremendous stress on exhibitors of all sizes, from the largest circuits to the independent movie houses dotted across hundreds of towns across the country. While the increasing flow of new studio releases has helped, these small-town businesses have had to work hard and be creative to entice moviegoers back to their theatres.
The AV Club interviewed two independent theatre owners in order to understand their efforts and successes.
The owners of the Capri Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi treated the pandemic as an opportunity to plan out an expansion of their business, introducing a new bowling alley and in-theatre dining options. Now that they have this up and running, they have found that the bowling alley in particular gives customers another reason to visit and become aware of what’s playing at the movie theatre.
The programmers at Aviation Cinemas in Dallas, Texas have emphasized special movie programs for the city’s sizeable cinephile community. Aviation hand-picks repertory titles to show, as well as the work of Texas-based filmmakers whose movies were getting “lost in the cracks.”
Both of these theatre owners have created a unique entertainment offering to connect their theatres to their local communities in novel and attractive ways.