Smaller Movie Theaters Got Creative to Survive – and They’ve Earned a Hot Box Office Summer

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Despite struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, independent cinema owners say they stayed open by focusing on the moviegoer experience

Cinelounge theaters in Hollywood and the Bay Area turned its theaters into a fun watering hole for the local community, regardless of what films were on the marquee. (Christian Meoli/Cinelounge)

The summer movie season has arrived, bringing much-needed revenue for theaters still in the process of recovering from the pandemic. The three national theater chains, AMC, Regal and Cinemark, are in various stages of recovery and aren’t expect to post quarterly profits this year, but other theater operators tell a much more optimistic story.

“Theater owners keep saying over and over that we just need more movies, but it really is true,” said Brian Schultz, CEO and founder of Look Dine-In Cinemas. “We have built an experience at our theaters that gives value to moviegoers and we’ve gotten amazing response from our customers.