Small Family-Owned Theaters Turn to Streaming to Generate Revenue
By Allyson Vannatta, Staff Writer
Arthouse movie theaters are now learning to love streaming as some of them are turning to virtual cinemas in an effort to generate income.
Greg Laemmle owns a family-run arthouse theater in Los Angeles and never expected a situation like they’re in now to happen.
He told Variety, “Obviously we are concerned about generating revenue during this period.”
Laemmle’s theater is just one of many embracing the new virtual cinema right now.
A virtual cinema allows audiences to purchase a $12 ticket online from a specific theater and receive access to a first-tier movie for a few days from a link.
Though virtual cinema is similar to video-on-demand and home streaming, the revenue would benefit local theaters and distributors.
“There can be concerns long-term about what message we’re sending. Are we taking customers and turning them into streamers? We figured it was better to maintain a relationship with our patrons and distributors,” Laemmle said. “I’m not immune to the long-term concerns it presents, but it felt like the right thing to do.”
Other small chains giving this a try include Alamo Drafthouse, Film Forum and the Angelika.
With major summer blockbusters pulled from their release dates and moved back in the calendar, it makes it harder for smaller independent movies to hit it big in theaters when they re-open, reports Variety.
This new model of smaller theaters still showing these independent movies online after they have been marketed could keep the theaters alive.