The Cine 5 movie theatre in International Falls, Minn., the only theatre close to Fort Frances, is staying open for now.
The theatre was forced to close earlier this month due to repairs needed to the waterline feeding the building’s sprinkler system.
At the time, theatre owner Mason Hanover said the cost for the repairs may have been too expensive and could force him to close the business.
He said he recently got the estimate for repairs and they are around $10,000.
The theatre’s long-term prospect depends on people coming in to watch movies and keeping costs of the repairs down, he said.
“Once we get this fixed and just hopefully get into spring and get into summer and start getting back to the pre-COVID days, hopefully we’ll stabilize a little bit more,” he said. “If we have a bad couple weeks, and I’m hoping we don’t, it’s literally a week to week [decision] for me.”
Hanover said the repair estimate was very reasonable.
“I was just worried [it could have ended up] being $30,000 to $40,000,” he said. “But luckily it didn’t and that may be manageable, just as long as we have attendance and stuff.”
Attendance has been all right, he said, noting they are still down 50 per cent from before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re getting more shares, more likes on social media and people [saying they want] to come,” he said. “It just takes a while to build business back up and you need the movies. More movie companies are releasing stuff now to theatres.”
One issue smaller independent operators have to deal with is being excluded from some releases by some studios, he said.
“Magic Mike is coming out on the [Feb. 10]. I don’t think we’re getting it because it sounds like Warner Brothers has made a deal with HBO. They’re going limit it to [certain] theatres and they’re going release it on HBO,” he said.“So it’s one of just another fight every week with the movie companies.”
He said there are a few movies coming up that should do well including 80 for Brady, a movie starring Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin and Rita Moreno about four friends embarking on a wild trip to see Tom Brady at the 2017 Super Bowl.
“We had a very good turnout for A Man Called Otto and I think that’s going be sort of the same clientele that [will watch 80 for Brady] and I think it’s going to be a good show,” he said.
Hanover said there’s also a possibility they bring back Titanic on Feb. 10 for its 25th anniversary and the next Marvel Ant Man movie opens on Feb. 17.
“I’m trying to go as long as we can. Things have picked up, so we are bringing in some more money. If we continue and grow then things should be fine,” he said. “If I see that it doesn’t, then we start working on plan B or plan C.”