CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – As movie theaters look for a way to survive the pandemic, many are turning to private rentals, like The Brattle in Cambridge, where groups of up to 15 people can choose from a selection of in house titles or even bring their own film.
“Now, we’re able to offer our hourly staff who need it the most some pay for these screenings. It’s not a huge moneymaker for us; it’s more a service for the community,” said the Brattle Theatre’s Creative Director Ned Hinkle.
The price is $350 per show, which is reduced to $250 for Brattle members. Guests can buy pre-packaged concession items and reserve their seats online. Only select rows will be available.
The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline is renting out one of their theaters for two hours at $500.
Program Director Mark Anastasio said, “We’re in our fourth month of offering venue rentals, and we’re offering them Thursday through Sunday at multiple time slots. There have been at least three or four groups per weekend since we started this.” Normally the theater holds over 400 people. Now, socially distanced seating allows for a maximum of 24 movie-goers, making for an intimate and unique experience.
Kristina and Tom Rayder recently rented Coolidge Corner Theatre for their October 30 wedding.
“We’ve been coming to the Coolidge Corner Theatre for years. Movies have always been a part of our identity, and this year was sort of a unique situation for us,” Kristina said. They even incorporated the screen into the big day. “We actually worked with our friend who is in video production, and she helped us put together a title crawl in the theme of Star Wars because Tom is a big Star Wars fan.”
Like the newlyweds, Anastasio said the theater rental is an outlet for many people. “People that request these rentals are missing that part of their life. The cinema going experience was such a big component of their week.”