Local theaters struggling to stay open as pandemic hits movie industry
BATON ROUGE - With all the games, movies and concessions to choose from, there was never a dull moment at Celebrity Theaters on George O'Neal Road. Since March, however, those good times have come to a halt.
"We had no idea that we were heading into this type of situation," says Roger Black, director of operations at Celebrity Theaters.
When all non-essential businesses were ordered to shut down back in March, Black and his employees thought it would only last a few weeks. Now, seven months later, their doors still aren't open.
Although they are allowed to reopen in some capacity, Black says it would be challenging to bring in an audience. Most blockbuster movie release dates have been delayed until next year, or sent straight to streaming, leaving the movie theaters to fend for themselves in an already damaged economy.
In an attempt to temporarily supplement their income, Celebrity Theaters is offering private theater rentals to host LSU watch parties. But with some games being canceled due to COVID, the season schedule has been inconsistent, leaving them scrambling for other options.
“If you wanna have church events here, company meetings, birthday parties, virtually anything you want to do... Since we are closed, we don’t have to work around a movie schedule. We can make it happen,” an event manager for the theater said.
Unless some type of federal aid is granted, the owners of the theater fear they may have to shut down for good.
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