South Bay Cinemas are back, but where are the audiences? – East Bay Times
With theaters reopening, movies like “A Quiet Place Part II” are setting box office records for post-pandemic lockdown releases. And the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Los Angeles reported last week that it had been sold out for the first time all weekend.
But in Silicon Valley, moviegoers have been much slower to return – even with the number of COVID-19 vaccinations and theaters cleaning auditoriums and installing new ventilation systems. Shannon Guggenheim of 3Below Theaters, the only movie theater in downtown San Jose, is puzzled by the lack of activity.
“Unfortunately, I can report that things are still pretty bleak,” she said on Thursday. “Presales are almost nil for this weekend and yesterday not a single soul crossed our threshold.”
What surprises Guggenheim most is that the lower numbers made sense when the theater at 288 S. Second St. primarily featured niche independent films, but since it reopened last month, they have been showing mainstream films like ” Cruella “and” In the Heights “. And attendance was actually worse.
And while 3Below is an extreme example, they are not alone. A quick online survey of area theaters, including Pruneyard Theaters in Campbell and ShowPlace ICON at Valley Fair, showed plenty of seats available for popular movies this weekend.
There are many reasons for the absence. People may choose to spend more time outdoors in hot weather, to reunite with family and friends after such a long separation, or to travel a bit more when the children are out of school. But if things don’t improve this summer, it could be a horror show for independent theaters like 3Below.
“We know it will take a while for downtown dwellers to realize that they have a big movie theater again in their corner,” Guggenheim said, “but if they don’t start to come soon, we may not survive this drought. “
ARTIFICIAL FRIDAY: The San Jose Museum of Art welcomes visitors again on Friday with “Break + Bleed”, a new exhibition showcasing works in the spirit of “post-painter abstraction”. It means paintings and drawings with a lot of geometric shapes, wavy and angular lines and bright colors.
The Downtown Museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with regular admission for the public and free admission for members. But it will stay open late until 9 p.m. to celebrate the opening, and everyone is free after 5 p.m. More details on www.sjmusart.org.
Meanwhile, the monthly South First Fridays Art Walk has more and more offerings, with more galleries and restaurants opening this week. This includes the MACLA Gallery, which is also presenting a new exhibition, a solo show for artist Natalia Anciso, a Texan artist currently based in Oakland. In the future, MACLA will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday, but there will be an opening reception with Anciso during the first Fridays in the south from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Get the rest of the lineup and a printable walking map at www.southfirstfridays. com.
FRIENDS OF BOOKS: Toni Blackstock, a member of the Friends of the Los Gatos Library board of directors, emailed me to let me know that the group’s bookstore has a half-price sale until the end of June on books. for children and cookbooks. The bookstore, next to the New Museum Los Gatos in the city’s civic center, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.