PRINT: Independent Theaters Want You To Keep Going To The Movies on WBEZ Chicago

“Independent movie theaters have faced threats to their business models in the past, but probably didn’t anticipate a global pandemic.

“Local theaters have hustled to adapt to changing times. Case in point: the 90-year-old Music Box Theatre in Lakeview. While watching a movie from home can’t replace the smell of buttery popcorn or the sticky floor beneath your feet, it’s become a way for small local theaters to survive.

“The Music Box, which closed March 16, is among the small theaters that found a new revenue stream with a “virtual cinema space.” With the cooperation of distributors, the Music Box’s streaming service launched March 27 and currently offers five films. But while these streaming services provide a temporary financial lifeline, they are unlikely to be a long-term solution.

“‘When we closed our doors, suddenly there was no revenue coming in,’ said Brian Andreotti, the Music Box’s director of programming. ‘In just a few weeks, people have gone from confusion, to a certain amount of panic, to coming up with a new concept of film distribution and putting it into action.’

“Here’s how it works. Each distributor has its own way of approaching a streaming platform, but it’s usually an online ticket sale of about $10 to $12. The payment unlocks the film to be available for a designated period of time, which ranges from a day to a week. It’s similar to what you’d find from renting a movie on Amazon Prime Video, but the difference is some films are exclusively released to the ‘virtual cinemas.’ These could be films that either were in theaters when venues closed, or films that were originally slated for a theatrical release during the pandemic.” (WBEZ, 4/24/20)

Read the full story at WBEZ Chicago

Independent Theaters Want You To Keep Going To The Movies — Virtuall; While watching a movie at home might not feel exactly the same, it’s become a way for small local theaters to survive, Minju Park, WBEZ Chicago, 4/24/20


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