MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It’s been one week since the Grand 14 Movie theater in The Market Common reopened to the public.
The Grand 14 theater first closed on April 1 due to an order from Gov. Henry McMaster. After reopening five months later, the theater made the tough decision to temporarily close down in September, due to a lack of big blockbuster films.
The theater reopened again on Nov. 6, with a few more movie options for customers. Duane Farmer, the Grand 14′s manager, said the first week back has been good, adding that his employees are back to work and the theater is open for customers.
With that in mind, Farmer also mentioned he is concerned, mainly because new releases still aren’t available as they normally would be.
“You know it’s been an uphill battle,” he said.
Farmer said in order for the theater to remain open long-term, they need big films that draw people to the big screen. Right now, he feels like Hollywood isn’t giving them much to work with.
“[We need movies like] James Bond, Wonder Woman, anything from Disney,” he said.
Farmer also said he feels the movie options have improved since the summer, but adds the blockbuster movies he needs to keep the theater up and running just aren’t being released, and that’s impacting their bottom line.
“Every customer counts, every dollar counts," said Farmer. "Hollywood’s not giving us a break on film rent, we’re still paying full film rent. It’s really hard to make it with [only] one-third of your customers.”
Now, Farmer is calling on Gov. McMaster to put more focus specifically on the entertainment industry. Some theaters across the state closed for nearly half the year due to his executive order.
“[Everything] shut down in March and we’ve heard crickets all summer long,” he said. "We’ve got seating restrictions. The income is just not there so they need to look at us. But we don’t want a handout, we just want a little stimulus, like some other businesses. We need a stimulus for the entertainment facilities. Look at helping the little guys and even the bigger guys. We need a helping hand, don’t leave us hanging.”
Farmer also mentioned that there is even a chance theaters could shut down again.
“It would not surprise me if it happens,” he said. “When the world’s largest chain which happens to be the Regal Cinema world, when they shut down all their theatres you know it’s bad.”
WMBF News has reached out to Gov. McMaster’s office and asked if he is considering any type of grant or financial support for entertainment industries.