The Crandell Theatre reopens July 1-4, 2021, with a Thursday through Friday schedule reflecting changes in the movie industry and viewing habits exacerbated by the 15-month closing caused by the corona virus. Thursday’s festive opening of the Crandell begins at 6:30 p.m. with music and dance presented outside the theater prior to the screening at 7:30 p.m. A complete schedule of screenings for the weekend can be found on the Crandell website, crandelltheatre.org, where tickets may be purchased on line and at the box office. Movie admission is $9 nonmembers, $8 members, and $7 for children 12 and under.
According to Peter Biskind, member of the Crandell Board of Directors and Vice President of Programming, “Before the pandemic studios required the Crandell to run major films up to four weeks. The first week we would do well but by the time the third and fourth weeks came around, the theater would be empty. For a single screen theater in a small town, that made survival difficult.” He continued, “Now in the streaming era studios have changed their release strategies. Before the pandemic, theaters, like the Crandell, enjoyed a substantial window before new films were streamed. Now films are often being released simultaneously in theaters and streaming, so we continue to face a difficult financial situation.”
Biskind, a celebrated writer and cultural critic who has written many books depicting the world of Hollywood, suggested that, by showing films from smaller distributors and independents, the Crandell can offer a greater variety of movies and thus continue to serve a wide spectrum of the community. Additionally, the Crandell will have the opportunity to experiment Monday-Wednesday with mini-festivals and topical programming including seasonal features as well as films by celebrated directors. “We like the flexibility this new schedule provides.” He says, “We are all anxious to get back into the theater!”
Opening weekend film screenings and their times are as follows: Thursday (July 1), 7:30 p.m., The Truffle Hunters; Friday (July 2), 4:00 p.m., Dream Horse; 7:30 p.m., Jaws; Saturday (July 3), 1:00 p.m., The Truffle Hunters, 4:00 p.m., Dream Horse, and 7:30 p.m. The Climb; Sunday (July 4), 1:00 p.m., Sunflowers, and 4:00 p.m. The Climb. After the screening of The Climb on Saturday evening, producer Noah Lang participates in a Q&A with Peter Biskind, Crandell Theatre board member and Executive Director of FilmColumbia. Directed by Michael Angelo Covino, The Climb was recognized at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 and features a cameo appearance by the Crandell Theatre.
Crandell Theatre staff are wearing masks and movie goers are required to wear masks as well when entering and moving about the theater. Masks may be removed when seated. Staff are encouraging social distancing while movie goers are standing on line. The Crandell’s contactless ticketing system automatically provides for social distancing in seating. To avoid congestion, concessions are not being offered, although refreshments will return in the near future.
The Crandell Theatre opened in 1926 as a venue for traveling vaudeville shows and silent movies. Built in the Spanish Renaissance style, the building has been largely unchanged. With over 500 seats, the Crandell is one of the few single-screen movie theatres in the country. The Crandell will hold its highly anticipated 21st Festival in October. FilmColumbia was recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” in the world.
In March 2021 the board announced a capital campaign to complete the renovation of the theatre.
Crandell Theatre, Inc., is a 501 (c)(3), not-for profit organization dedicated to enriching the cultural vitality of the region through film programming that challenges, inspires, educates, and entertains. The theater is supported by ticket sales and earned revenue, contributions of members and friends, and private and public grants, including the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. In 2017 the Crandell Theatre was listed on the federal and state registers of historic places. For information, visit the website, crandelltheatre.org, or call. 518.392.3445.