I am a huge advocate for the indie film house/art house cinema. And I go back to the Varsity, thru the years of U Film Soc, Oak Street, Suburbian World, Uptown, Parkway, Heights, Riverview, Highland, and Grandview, etc. We need more of cinemas that seek to give the filmgoing audience greater choices and something other than the mainstream big box office releases.
However, these old cinemas cannot escape the overwhelming responsibility to provide an excellent film-viewing experience and many fall short. It disappoints me when they do because I know many of these theaters are hanging on my a shoestring and loosing box office receipts every month. The Parkway slid steadily into a poorly managed and neglected auditorium and spells disaster for any entertainment business.
Recently at the Grandview, we went to see the documentary SICKO and two thirds into the screening the audio/video system went bonkers and we started hearing the extremely annoying and poorly produced pre-film ads and tacky music we have to tolerate ad nauseam before seeing the film. Add to the fact that the theater will only accept cash at the box office (this only hurts their business in the long run) and poorly maintained restrooms (dirty and unkept) along with broken down chairs (you have to move around the auditorium to find a fully supportive back on their chairs) -- I can only think that it is a matter of time before the doors are going to close here.
And then we'll hear the screams that the indies have been run out of business by the DVD rentals or internet downloads when, in fact, the theater itself brought on many of its problems.
Now, by contrast check out Riverview where the theater is properly maintained in the character of when it was built, the management is always looking for new ways to bring in the local community or support special film and media events. The Riverview tries harder and it makes a huige difference to the experience of seeing a film. I hope Grandview can learn lessons from Riverview. Pay attention to providing the best film-going experience for your audience and clean your theater!
And that's what it is all about!