Broad Theater, Chalmette Movies announce temporary closures, as Hollywood delays hit home

With Hollywood holding major theatrical releases hostage or skipping straight to streaming, many major movie theater chains remain shuttered. Now, two local independent theaters, also feeling the strain from the pandemic, announced temporary closures.

The Broad Theater and Chalmette Movies are both closing theater doors this month. Both theaters welcomed back customers in early June during Phase One of reopening.

Photo courtesy: Broad Theater via Facebook

In a lengthy Facebook post, owner Brian Knighten announced the temporary closure of Broad Theater in Mid-City on July 24.

In the statement, Knighten points out a “lack of national leadership” and compares the fallout from the pandemic to the “darkness that overcame us” during Hurricane Katrina.

“So instead of a sorrowful letter about our closure, we are going to use those lessons from Katrina and remember the darkest hour is always just before daylight,” the post said.

Knighten said he will reassess his business strategy before reopening but didn’t disclose an exact date.

“We will reopen, we will build back a safe experience for our staff and customers, and we will use this time to adjust our business model to continue to be a vital part of our neighborhood and this city,” the post said.

Chalmette Movies soon followed, announcing it will temporarily close its doors on July 30.

In the announcement on Facebook, Chalmette Movies cites several factors for the temporary closure, including customers’ safety concerns and the delay of theatrical releases.

Some blockbusters currently on hiatus include the Christopher Nolan-directed “Tenet,” Disney’s live-action “Mulan” and the Tom Cruise-franchise sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.”

However, the theater remains positive they can reopen in the fall.

“We are currently looking at October 1, but in all fairness, there are a lot of factors we have to consider; most importantly we cannot reopen until Hollywood decides to,” the Facebook post said.

The post from Chalmette Movies also references challenges in getting the word out to the public about their re-opening since the shutdown.

“Over the last seven weeks however, we have seen our business drop significantly from our pre-COVID numbers to an alarmingly dismal rate. We cannot afford to stay open until things start to return back to normal,” the Facebook states.

Currently, the Prytania Theatre and Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge remain open to the public in the New Orleans area.

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