Local Movie Theater Owners Optimistic With Return Of Hollywood Hits, Eased Capacity Limits

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory shows us Thursday how the return of Hollywood hits is inspiring theater owners here at home.

Video Transcript

Behind the scenes, behind the lines, inside the stories others won't tell-- The Morning Insiders.

- The Oscars may be coming at the end of the month, but movie buffs are already talking about the year ahead.

- There are some signs of hope at the box office right now. Big movies are opening up this summer and now, so is a local theater. Morning Insider Lauren Victory has the story.

LAUREN VICTORY: For CBS2's third visit to Classic Cinemas this pandemic, a different theme.

CHRIS JOHNSON: We wanted to do this to give the audience more variety of films to play.

LAUREN VICTORY: CEO Chris Johnson felt confident enough in the industry to install this fancy new theater despite a roller coaster year. When he stepped up and these snacks in June--

CHRIS JOHNSON: We'll rope this off.

LAUREN VICTORY: --theater capacity limits had him worried. Sure enough, that and the lack of Hollywood hits being released--

CHRIS JOHNSON: We did about 10% of what we would normally do.

LAUREN VICTORY: --led to this follow up conversation about the decision to temporarily shut down after the re-opening attempt. Nine months later, the company is trying again.

What made you say this time around, OK we're going to open?

CHRIS JOHNSON: Well, initially it was the lineup of the films.

SCOTT DEHN: There's still some restrictions but nowhere near what it was a year ago at this time.

LAUREN VICTORY: Scott Dehn is also feeling good about the upcoming season at his drive-in theater in McHenry. Social distancing is still required, but you can watch a movie without your mask, and concessions will finally be back. Plus--

SCOTT DEHN: We'll have a new screen, which makes a nice bright, clear picture.

LAUREN VICTORY: The McHenry Outdoor Theater was immensely popular last year but could only welcome half of a regular crowd.

SCOTT DEHN: I felt so bad because we had hundreds of cars out in the street that just wanted to do something, you know-- just get outside. And I could only let in what I could let in.

LAUREN VICTORY: All 800 spots are available starting April 30th.

And what do you think it's going to be like to have people back?

CHRIS JOHNSON: It's going to be thrilling-- exciting.

LAUREN VICTORY: Classic Cinemas opens April 15th.

CHRIS JOHNSON: I just can't wait.

LAUREN VICTORY: Lauren Victory, CBS2 News.