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Big news for the big screen: Orillia movie theatre to reopen Monday

Galaxy Cinemas to restart at 50 percent capacity—and the snack bar will be taking orders; 'It’s really the way people are meant to see a movie,' general manager says

Movie lovers rejoice: Galaxy Cinemas is ready to pull open the curtain once again. 

After enduring its fourth COVID-related shutdown, the Orillia movie theatre will reopen Monday at 50 percent capacity—and yes, popcorn will be served. General manager Sandra Phillips says the theatre will be allowed to sell food and beverages.

“We are really looking forward to being back at it on Monday," Phillips says. "As restrictions ease, we are hoping to see more people coming through the door.”

Spider-Man: No Way Home was the top flick at the box office before the theatre was forced to shut down in early January due to the Omicron variant. Some advanced tickets for the popular Marvel film have already been sold online for next week.

“I really think people are still excited to see some of the product that we had over the Christmas holidays,” Phillips said. “I know there were quite a few people who just couldn’t get in on time to see some of the movies before we did end up closing."

Looking ahead, Scream will debut in Orillia on Feb. 4. The horror/thriller is currently sitting at number two on box office charts behind Spider-Man.

Although she believes brighter days are ahead for the theatre, Phillips admits the pandemic hasn’t been easy on the entertainment business.

“This is certainly not how we wanted to start the new year,” she said. “We were going into the Christmas holidays with some steam. With the new restrictions and having to close our venue, it was really a challenge.”

While the pandemic has taken its toll on the business, it has also impacted staff.

“This is the fourth time in the past 22 months that we’ve been closed and had to lay off staff,” Phillips said. “It certainly has been difficult on them.”

However, it doesn’t appear staffing will be an issue going forward. Phillips says the theatre "had a very healthy staffing level" before the latest shutdown, and "cast members" are excited to once again punch tickets and fill popcorn buckets.

“Being able to serve food again is a big positive for us,” Phillips said. “We also have our SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats program, which does very well for us.”

Although at-home streaming services have surged in popularity during the pandemic, Phillips believes movie theatres are still viable, and that audiences will continue to grow once the virus is in the rear-view mirror.

“People have certainly missed seeing movies in a theatre environment,” she said. “We really saw that with Spider-Man: No Way Home and the amount of people who were clapping and cheering in the auditorium during the different scenes. It’s really the way people are meant to see a movie and it’s an exciting experience for them."

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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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