Tivoli Enterprises’ Classic Cinema 12 is reopening with new movies, tasty popcorn, and free refills.
The Carpentersville movie theater is opening its doors on Thursday, April 15, with new releases, including “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Voyagers,” “The Unholy,” “The Courier,” “The Croods: A New Age,” and “Tom and Jerry.”
“‘Mortal Combat’ is out the next week. It’s a pretty big movie,” Tivoli CEO Chris Johnson said. “Then there are other movies coming.”
Tivoli, an independent chain, closed its theaters, including Classic Cinema 12 in Carpentersville, last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Theaters reopened in the summer for a few months with COVID-19 safety precautions in place, like blocked off seats for social distancing, “so we’re versed on that,” Johnson said.
All Classic Cinemas closed again in July and remain closed. Large chains, like AMC, have also struggled. The pandemic has been rough for large theater chains as well as independent ones.
The last year was “horrible financially,” Johnson said. “There were many sleepless nights.” It’s also been difficult dealing with studios not providing movies, he said. “Candidly, there’s been a lot of sacrifices. At the end of the day, we are committed to it, and we’ve sort of put everything on the line. We’re ready to go.”
During the closure, Classic Cinema made changes that include a new way of getting movie tickets, a redesigned website, a new app, and high-end filters for fresh air intake, Johnson said.
“We implemented a new point of sales system which does a better job of mapping out what seats are available so there’s cushion on each side of each group,” Johnson said. Seats are also reserved, he said. “We are trying to do all sort of things that enhance” our theaters, he said.
It had been hard to book movies with studios taking different approaches to theatrical releases, Johnson said. Then, some films have had their opening dates pushed back, he said. He sees more movies being released now, he said.
Memorial Day weekend usually has blockbuster movies premiering and this year it will be “A Quiet Place Part II,” Disney’s live-action movie “Cruella” and “Vivo,” an animated film. This summer will see “The Fast and The Furious 9,” Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” “The Suicide Squad 2,” and “Black Widow.”
“‘Top Gun: Maverick’ will be massive. It’s the biggest movie going,” Johnson said.
While streaming has become the norm for moviegoers over the last year, Johnson believes people are ready to get off their couch, out of the house, and into a movie theater. “It’s a happy place where people create memories. It is purely about escaping the everyday. We like to call it a two-hour vacation. It may take a second or two to come back, but they will be back for sure.”
The movie industry will rebound, Johnson said. “There will be some slight differences but, in general, we’re still going to have places to go see movies and events. We’re still going to have a lot of movies being made. It’s certainly a tough time to navigate, but overall, it’s a very positive industry and one that will survive.”