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No movies ‘for many more months’

Masha Scheele
reporter@hintonvoice.ca


Hinton’s movie enthusiasts and cinephiles may be disappointed to hear that Hinton Movies announced this week its continued suspension of big screen movie delivery in Hinton.

The suspension will be revisited once the Performing Arts Theatre in Hinton (PATH) building can safely host at least 100 patrons while following pandemic-related safety regulations.

“Clearly, there are a number of factors which led to our continuation of the suspension which will be for many more months at least,” said Bernie Kreiner, president of the Rotary Movie Presentation Society (Hinton Movies).

Those factors include not only the limited occupancy limits that are required for a safe environment for both staff and customers, but also the fact that very few new movies are coming out right now.

Currently, provincial social distancing rules limit the auditorium capacity to about 40 people, and this does not allow Hinton Movies to be financially viable with the costs  related to rent, movie distribution fees, and staff.

Movie delivery by the not-for-profit enterprise has been suspended since mid-March when the PATH closed its doors due to the pandemic.

Since then, the PATH has become available again under certain limitations, but Hinton Movies stated it isn’t viable for them to show movies and run their operation.

Kreiner mentioned the two big movies that came out recently, Spongebob and Tenet, which had two very different audience responses.

One had a great response, and the second one did poorly in markets where cinemas are operating again since nobody showed up, he said.

Articles written about the future of the movie industry are divided about how it will be impacted by this pandemic.

Kreiner added that there is a concern about losing the movie theatre experience and audiences, but that it’s too early to speculate.

Until people feel safe to go out again, they won’t come out anyway, he said. The question will remain where families will go for their entertainment and if couples will return to the theatre on dates.

The media release from Hinton Movies recognized that some other cinemas are operating in this environment, but that most are part of networked cinema chains with deeper pockets while Hinton Movies is an independent non-for-profit enterprise.

One full time and five part time staff members employed by Hinton Movies also had to be considered in this decision, Kreiner added.

Hinton Movies plans to be open again when it is viable to do so, and movie vouchers will be honoured at that time.

The organization thanked it’s landlord, Home for Fine Arts Society of Hinton (ASH), for the flexible rent terms and conditions during these unusual times. 

For further information, reach out to Hinton Movies at (780) 817-6340 or via email at manager@hintonmovies.ca.