Summertime offers a great rainy-day escape: let’s go to the movies


Fair Use: Screenshot from IMDB

FILM CLUB. Check out recommendations at sites like IMDB to build a movie list.

The movies are officially back. After a devastating drop in ticket sales during the pandemic, the first five months of 2023 have outperformed the entirety of 2020.

Still, theaters are trying to figure out how to get customers back. The main problem is that no one’s in the habit. Pre-pandemic, many people would see a film once a week — say, as a Friday or Saturday outing. They’d go see a new release at their local theater.

But since the pandemic brought a large rise in online streaming subscriptions, that’s not happening nearly as much.

Neither is the spontaneous trip to the theater when people just need something to do.
But this summer can be the turning point for many cinemas. Students are off school, and have more free time — not to mention that in the heat, the air-conditioned theaters offer a welcome break from a humid Minnesota summer.

There’s just the one thing to focus on, and it comes with snacks, free air conditioning and a comfortable seat.

— Frances Matthews

And if the thought of going back to a run-down theater without good picture quality or comfortable seats is discouraging, rest assured that many theaters are making improvements. For example, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema recently added call buttons, which help customers flag down waiters quicker as part of their unique food service model. The regular soda and popcorn at many theaters is also boosted by expanded menus.

Plus, movies are fun. They make three hours go quickly. They’re a good place to see friends and share an experience where hopefully, phones won’t be out. There’s just the one thing to focus on, and it comes with snacks, free air conditioning and a comfortable seat.

What’s not to like?

In the Twin Cities, things were not looking good for local theaters back in 2021. Many smaller theaters were closing because of the pandemic, which led to many jobs being lost and people being without entertainment that summer. This fate should be prevented as much as possible, so other movie theaters don’t go the same way as the Edina Cinema. Mann Theaters in Hopkins, which is family-owned and run, also had to close a location during the pandemic. Many of their locations are still running, but even closing one had an impact, no matter how good business is at their other locations.
Local theaters need to be supported, and summer is the perfect time, as people have more time available. Local theaters are vital to the community, as they are generally family-run places to gather.

Make going to the movies a key part of this summer.