Perhaps no industry was left more in the dark by the coronavirus pandemic than movie theaters, which were shuttered for some six months due to the outbreak.
Three Star Cinema has been back up and running for six weeks, but the crowds haven’t been quick to return. It’s still a rocky road as theaters fight to keep the projectors rolling.
“It’s sort of been up and down,” said Three Star Cinema owner Bob Bassham. “It’s hard to tell if it’s getting better or not. For a little while, crowds were improving and I thought it was getting better. Now it’s kind of gone back down a little bit.”
When it comes to attracting crowds, movie theaters have been dealt a damaging one-two punch. Because of the contagious nature of COVID, people are reluctant to return to theaters in packs. And because of the virus, film companies have been slow to shoot and release new movies to attract large theater crowds.
Bassham was pleased to have landed a first-run movie for this weekend in “The War with Grandpa.” The film stars Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman and is a PG comedy. It details the struggles that ensue when a boy is forced to share his room with his grandfather.
“This will be our first big one since we’ve reopened,” said Bassham. “I think it’s going to do well.”
Bassham said seats are marked off to ensure social distancing within the theater. He said visitors are encouraged to wear masks and he estimates most people have, although some have been vocal in letting it be known they weren’t going to wear a mask.
“We had some people pull up outside and let us know they weren’t coming in because of the mask mandate so I’m glad the mask mandate has been lifted,” said Bassham.
Some older films have done well, according to Bassham. He said “Smokey and the Bandit” starring Burt Reynolds had solid attendance numbers for an older movie. He also listed “Liar, Liar” starring Jim Carrey and “Hocus Pocus” as two other older movies which performed well when shown at Three Star Cinema recently.