Back to Showtimes, Back to Business: Marcus Theatres in Elk River
2 Sep 2022
The past year has seen a dramatic change in business operations across industries. Economic activity around the world plunged in the first few months of 2020, as the pandemic escalated around the world and severe lockdowns were put in place.
While some businesses have thrived and experienced growth during this period of change, others were faced with overcoming challenges as the economy tried to emerge from the pandemic.
For two years, the future of the film industry was in the doldrums, with no one able to say for sure whether cinemas would recover from the coronavirus pandemic. However, things have been looking up in 2022, and for the movie industry, it has been a monumental time.
Bringing people back to the movies again: Marcus Theatres
Marcus Theatres in Elk River has opened its doors to the public again. Rolando Rodriguez, Chairman, President, and CEO of Marcus Theatres stated that the theater was significantly affected by the pandemic. All of their theaters were closed for some time during the pandemic, with Marcus Elk River Cinema reopening in May 2021. “During the pandemic, we surveyed Marcus Movie Reward members about what they missed the most when non-essential businesses shut down,” Rodriguez went on to add. “The response was overwhelming, with 93% listing seeing a movie in a theater as their most missed activity.” The reopening process for the theaters was gradual, with a new set of safety protocols established to align with local safety guidelines.
Overcoming pandemic challenges creatively
Rodriguez said that a few creative steps were taken to deal with post-pandemic times. The staff continued to stay connected with their guests when the theater was closed. For example, they were able to keep in touch with Magical Movie Rewards loyalty members and guests using social media, sharing movie information and other updates. In addition, in select markets, they had curbside popcorn pick-ups, offered online movie fun packs (popcorn, candy, etc.), and even created a handful of Parking Lot Cinemas – Marcus Theatres’ own version of drive-in theaters with screens placed on the exterior of their buildings.
According to Rodriguez, humans crave social interaction, and seeing a film in a theater is a social experience. In addition to getting new films and plenty of options back into the theaters, they also listened to what the guests wanted. More than ever, people were looking for easy ordering options and perhaps lesser contact. So Marcus prioritized their online concessions and food ordering program both website and app, and made that available throughout the circuit. In addition, they also introduced Marcus Private Cinema, a fun and convenient way for a group of up to 20 to see a movie in their own auditorium. He says it continues to be a popular option today, for special events like kids’ birthday parties.
Rodriguez feels that sharing a favorite film with friends is a great way to build camaraderie and friendship. Not only does the Elk River cinema play the latest movies, but the aim is to bring back movies to the big screen for guests to re-experience the way movies were always meant to be seen. Reserving a Marcus Private Cinema is also the perfect option for small groups to reconnect, he says.
At Marcus Theatres the future is exciting
“It will be an exhilarating fall and winter for the movies. With big blockbusters like “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” as well as “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” and “Puss In Boots” for families, there will be something for everyone”, Rodriguez says.
Marcus Theatres and Elk River - A collaborative partnership
As for Marcus Theatres reopening once again in Elk River, Rodriguez says that they have always enjoyed a collaborative partnership with city leadership, and look forward to continuing to connect with the community through moviegoing. “We’re thrilled that Elk River Cinema is open, and the community has the opportunity to laugh, cry, and experience the overall magic of the movies the way they were meant to be seen, on the big screen, together”, he says. As for the residents of Elk River, they are thrilled that the theater has reopened - it was thought that it would never again see the light of day!
Community theaters are important assets and Elk River is fortunate to have Marcus Theatres up and running! This Saturday, September 3 is special for moviegoers as well. It is National Cinema Day and Marcus Theatres is offering many specials, like movies for $3 all day and irresistible food and beverage deals. For the latest films and showtimes at Elk River Cinema visit marcustheatres.com.