Chatham Crandell Theatre Marquee

Considerations on Re-Opening the Crandell

Dear Friends:

As a result of the pandemic, the Crandell has been closed since March. During that time, our staff and board have been so grateful for the support of our members and friends.

Although the Crandell screen may be dark, we have been busy all the while. We have developed schematic drawings toward the long-desired renovation of our beloved theater. We used our PPP grant to do a cleanup of the theater. Our newly-created Community Programming Committee has presented two well-attended, well-received programs thus far: one about the food chain, and our Farm Film Festival. Each week, we offer several films for home viewing on various streaming platforms. And, through our collaboration with local libraries and Kanopy, 30,000 films are available for free.

This week, the Governor allowed movie theaters to re-open, at up to 25% capacity. As we think about re-opening the Crandell, there are several factors beyond the Governor’s statement that we must also consider:

Safety: We know that safety is of the utmost importance at this time, and we are finalizing what we need to do to create and maintain the safest space for staff and attendees.

Availability of films: The release of many commercial films has been delayed. Others have already been released on streaming platforms. We are working with our booking agent to determine the schedule and availability of films that would attract our audiences.

Economics: Most importantly, we do not have cash reserves to sustain an income loss from the box office for an extended time. When we open we need to have an expectation that an average of 200 people each week will want to see movies at the Crandell again. Unfortunately, we will not be able to sell concessions, an important source of movie revenue. Additionally, we will not have the proceeds from FilmColumbia to provide substantial income for the year.

We all want the Crandell to open soon, with commercial and independent films that appeal to our community. At this time we need your continued support as we work through issues related to the movie industry, the pandemic, and your own willingness to come back to the movies.

We’ll keep you posted.

Thank you!

Lydia Kukoff, President