When Hollywood Blvd. Cinema in Woodridge closed from March to July, owners were counting on new releases to welcome customers back once they were allowed to reopen.
The problem? Those movies never came. Neither did the audience.
“The most difficult part is finding any type of financial assistance,” Marketing Director of Hollywood Blvd. Cinema Dana Pobanz said.
The theater is only operating eight of its auditoriums in order to cut down on air conditioning costs.
What used to cost $800 to rent out a movie theater can cost just $99 today.
The theater isn’t alone.
According to the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), more than 70% of small theaters say they could close by the end of the year if they don’t receive financial assistance.
NATO has launched the “Save Your Cinema” campaign to get the attention of lawmakers.
Local NATO president, Chris Johnson, says some theaters are operating on just 10% to 15% of their sales from last year.
“If you are open, you’re probably losing money. If you’re closed, you’re definitely losing money” Johnson said. “It’s a decision, how much money are you going to lose?”
More than 150,000 local theater jobs are on the line across the country, according to NATO’s Save Your Cinema campaign website.
With studios pushing back releases and some going straight to streaming platforms, the outlook of the theater industry is dark.
The world’s largest movie theater chain, AMC, announced Tuesday it may run out of cash by the end of the year. Regal Cinemas has already shuttered its locations across the country, until further notice.