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.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
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.