A night at the movies for the past four months has generally meant firing up a streaming service at home, but this month Cinema 21 is giving a limited number of patrons the option of reliving what the experience used to be like in pre-pandemic times.
Since the nearly 100-year-old theater on Northwest 21st Avenue closed due to the mandated coronavirus shutdowns in mid-March, operators have found creative ways to generate a small amount of revenue, but those efforts have not been enough to cover fixed costs. So to help cover expenses, the theater is launching a series of benefit screenings open to only 25 patrons, beginning Saturday, July 18, with Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
"Our giant 500-seat auditorium allows for ample social distancing," owner Tom Ranieri said in a press release. "Patrons can enjoy a moviegoing experience well beyond the current safety guidelines while also supporting the theater during this crisis."
Admission to the benefit series costs $99 per show, which includes a reserved seat, a $25 gift card to the theater, a Cinema 21 tote bag and complimentary concessions. All moviegoers will be required to wear masks and abide by the 6-foot distancing guideline.
So far, there will be four sessions through the end of July that all feature critically acclaimed independent films. Beyond Cave of Forgotten Dreams, screenings will include the 2017 satirical black comedy The Death of Stalin, Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien and Gaspar Noé's experimental Enter the Void.
Dates and tickets can be found on Cinema 21's website.