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The pandemic has been a horror show for movie theaters. Some wondered if their time in the spotlight had passed for good, as new releases arrived via digital streaming services. Now, though, they've got reason to expect a happy ending.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Shelli Taylor, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse, about her cinema chain's bankruptcy, the industry's battles with streamers and why she's expecting this summer to be a blockbuster.

Go deeper

May 20, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

The pandemic's toll on Minneapolis movie theaters

The Riverview Theater in Minneapolis is reopening, but many others won't. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

Most of the megaplex movie theater chains have reopened after screens went dark in the Twin Cities, but many small theaters have been slow to come back ... or worse, closed for good.

Driving the news: The landlord of the iconic Uptown Theater in Minneapolis this week filed to evict operator Landmark Theaters for non-payment of rent, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

  • Landmark Theaters has also decided to permanently close its Edina 4 theater, according to a report last month from Indie Wire. An Edina city official confirmed to Axios that the theater won't reopen.
  • And last year, local chain Mann Theaters decided to close its second-run Hopkins 6 theater.

State of play: Movie theaters are at the mercy of Hollywood to not only churn out more films, but also to stop sending those films directly to streaming services. Even with restrictions lifting, theaters need good new movies to bring in guests.

  • That's been particularly hard for second-run theaters that have longer wait-times for films.

The good news: The historic Riverview Theater announced Tuesday it will reopen its south Minneapolis doors on May 28.

  • The catch: The theater had to switch temporarily from a second-run model to new releases, starting with "A Quiet Place Part II."
  • As a result, ticket prices will increase to $5 for children, seniors and all matinees. Evening adult admission will be $7.

More good news: Mann re-opened its Grandview Theater in St. Paul this week and went from three to seven days a week at Highland Theater.

Of note: Attempts to reach Minneapolis' St. Anthony Main, which doesn't have showings scheduled, have not been successful, but the theater previously told WCCO-TV that it was doing renovations and would reopen in April.

May 20, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

A new documentary about Des Moines' old movie theaters

Photo courtesy of Mark Heggen

The Varsity Virtual Cinema is offering a free viewing of a documentary about "the boom and disappearances" of DSM’s classic movie houses.

The state of play: "Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines" uses archival film and photos of theaters from the early 1900s to present day. It premiered last week at the Varsity and is available for free through May 28.

14 mins ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media company is rebranding its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media giant to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.