Well crap.

We have spent a lot of time focusing on the food-related businesses that have struggled through the pandemic, and we may have let some other businesses slip past. Restaurants and bars got hit hard, obviously, but plenty of other businesses had to figure out how to survive with such a dramatic drop in profits over the past seven months.

Now, news has just come out that the ShowRoom Cinemas, with theatres in Asbury Park and Bradley Beach, will not be able to open, even after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Co-founder Michael Sodano said

It was a very difficult decision, but the reality is that we’re sinking under the weight of debt from being closed for six months.

Both locations stopped showing movies on March 16th. By Labor Day weekend, Governor Murphy allowed movie theaters to operate at 25% capacity. One of the big things that I learned in my time working at a movie theatre in high school is that the big production studios make money from the ticket sales, and the theatre itself makes most of its profit from concession sales (which is why popcorn is so outrageously marked up, and why the concession kid always tries to upsell you into buying a large instead of a medium).

The ShowRoom opened up in Asbury Park in 2009, and I saw a couple movies there that weren't getting runs in the big chains. The ShowRoom specialized in indie films, not big Hollywood blockbusters, so it catered to a niche crowd. Having a small audience, and then adding in the fact that an audience like that doesn't typically go in for the giant popcorn and soda and Milk Duds, AND THEN adding in the fact that people are just more hesitant to go to the movies in general, AND THEN having more distributors release films directly to your home on demand...it all just added up to it being more expensive to open up at a limited capacity than it would be to just close for good.

It's a shame to see yet another small, locally-owned business suffer the wrath of the pandemic.

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