Chris Collier's work is simultaneously nonexistent and stressful.
The executive director of Renew Theaters closed the doors to four cinemas across Pennsylvania and New Jersey in mid-March following orders from governors to halt all non-essential businesses. People aren't filling seats and there's no popcorn popping, but Collier's days are now spent figuring out how to run the nonprofit with a skeleton crew and deciding which films to show online to keep money coming in, even if it's only a little.
Three local nonprofit theater organizations — Renew, the Philadelphia Film Society and the Bryn Mawr Film Institute — have been screening films via the internet to make up for lost revenue and keep staff on the payroll. The streaming sales are only a fraction of what the theaters made from tickets. Still, every penny counts for the nonprofits that may not open their doors for months.
The Philadelphia Film Society is seeing about 10% of the revenue it typically would, as virtual screenings brought in a few thousand dollars last month, said J. Andrew Greenblatt, executive director of the organization. The Film Society would typically average revenue of about $30,000 each month, with 70% stemming from ticket sales, he said. Having both the Roxy and the main theater in Center City closed brought ticket sales to zero.