Metropolitan Theatre locations Fiesta Five in Santa Barbara and Camino Real in Goleta opened just over a month ago, but seats are still cold as the industry struggles.
David Corwin, president of Metropolitan Theatres, said the last month has been “slow going” simply due to a lack of movie releases.
“People feel comfortable about the precautions we’ve taken, but there’s just not any new product to get them here,” he said.
The release of the latest James Bond movie “No Time to Die,” scheduled to release this month, was pushed until 2021. The change prompted the temporary closure of Regal, the second largest cinema chain in the United States.
But Corwin says he doesn’t intend on closing Metropolitan’s doors, even if the business isn’t currently profitable.
“We want to be able to keep as many people as we can working, and every week that we continue to be open, there’s more awareness,” he said.
The theaters showed “Hocus Pocus” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to add variety, but it doesn’t pull people in like a new release.
“We’re dependent upon the films in the marketplace,” Mr. Corwin said.
He hopes “The Croods: A New Age,” set to release Nov. 25, will attract families back to the cinema. He says the current releases haven’t been family-friendly.
“Around 80% of the films that were scheduled for this year were pushed to next year, so if we can get to a normal place, there will be plenty of film product next year,” he said.
In an effort to control costs, the theaters are open under limited hours. They will be closed today because of the election.
“Even with one theater open in Goleta and Santa Barbara, we’re struggling to sell the screens,” he said.
But concession sales have aligned with pre-COVID consumer habits. And people have been renting out theaters for private showings.
“We just hope people will come out and reintroduce themselves to coming to the movies,” Mr. Corwin said. “It may not be huge blockbusters, but we’re doing everything we can to identify and provide new content.”
Theatergoers can sign up for weekly newsletters to get updates about releases. Mr. Corwin says he tries to inform viewers, as many films haven’t spent much on marketing this year.
“We’d certainly love people coming out to support our business and our employees to help get through this period,” Mr. Corwin said.
Monday, AMC Theatres reported a 90.9% drop in revenue. It intends to sell up to $47.7 million of Class A common stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filed earlier Monday.