Mar 23, 2022 - Business

Des Moines' Fleur Cinema faces reopening dilemma

The Fleur storefront

The outside of The Fleur. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

When the pandemic started shuttering businesses, one of the first local places to close its doors was the iconic Fleur Cinema and Café on March 13, 2020.

  • Now, more than two years later, its sustained closure has become one of the city's biggest mysteries, begging the question — is The Fleur going to reopen?

Why it matters: Fleur Cinema holds a nostalgic spot in the Des Moines metro and for good reason.

  • In an era of 4D movies and reclining seats, The Fleur was a reminder that sometimes, less is more. That indie flicks and foreign films could steal the show and sometimes, fresh popcorn is just enough.

State of play: Michael Coppola, the owner of Fleur Cinema, told Axios the biggest struggle for the independent movie theater is having enough films to show.

  • While the big box movie theaters have Blockbuster hits like the new Batman film to fill their venues, there still aren't enough highly anticipated independent films to make it financially worth permanently reopening the doors again.
  • “There’s not enough content to fill the pipeline,” Coppola said.

Instead, Coppola said The Fleur has been holding some private events, including an upcoming showing of "Chasing the Dead."

What's next: He hopes to open later this spring, which is when his booker said more independent films should be available.

  • In the meantime, he said the physical condition of the theater has been kept up and would be "ready to go" tomorrow.
  • He'll have to hire new staff though, since the majority of his former employees found new jobs over the last two years.

Yes, but: If he's unable to open by this spring or summer, Coppola said there will be a time that The Fleur "will have to bite the bullet."


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