SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The staff at the locally-owned Kenwood Theatre is working hard to reopen for the first time since last summer, and they’re offering moviegoers a week of free shows.
Starting Friday, movie titles will fill their marquee again. The Kenwood Theatre team is hoping families will come out to enjoy a weeklong celebration of their grand reopening.
Kenwood closed its doors for the first time in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic, and they briefly reopened last summer.
“Kenwood wasn’t ready yet, because Kenwood is more of a mainstream film theatre and there weren’t a lot of mainstream films from the studios,” said Vice President of Operations Julianne Reisenfeld.
Across America, there’s been an 80% decline in the number of moviegoers. In 2020, the U.S. box office made $2.2 billion, down from the $11.3 billion it made in 2019.
That’s why so many theatres, including Kenwood, had to get creative. Instead of in-person flicks, the theatre offered take-home snacks, streaming options and theatre rentals.
Katie Ewing celebrated her 36th birthday at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton.
“It was sort of like a throwback,” she said. “We watched ‘Clueless’, which is the greatest movie of all time, but we just got to be with each other. There were some friends that I haven’t gotten to see in a while.”
There’s even a wedding set to happen inside the Kenwood Theatre doors. All of it is part of an effort to bring some joy to families and keep a local business open.
“People want to laugh together, cry together, and be scared together and the best place to do that is in a movie theatre,” said Reisenfeld. “There is not a lot of opportunity to do that. When you can’t get together with people, that kind of shut all of that down. It definitely was rough but we are glad that things are opening up again.”
Free movies will be offered April 23 through April 29, including “The Lego Movie,” “The Goonies,” “Annabelle,” “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Twister.” Tickets for free movies are not available online and must be picked up at the box office on a first come, first served basis.
Masks are required inside the theater. Hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes are available, and social distancing practices include seating in every other row and limiting parties to seating with three-seat spacing.
Kenwood Theatre is also hiring now that they can reopen and more guests are coming back. Learn more here.