An At-Home Drive-In

How the Coral Gables Art Cinema Has Responded to the Coronavirus

On March 18, the Coral Gables Art Cinema shut its doors. Immediately, the wheels started turning for how they could still engage with movie lovers. The following week, they announced their first activation: The Gables Cinema Drive-In. The brain child of Executive Director Brenda Moe, the drive-in features three new films every day on the cinema’s website, free of charge. 

“It’s unique,” says Moe. “We’re programming films that are a lot of fun to watch.” The movies that are available range from classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, to horror, like House on Haunted Hill, to comedy, like Steamboat Bill, Jr.

To give its audience more options (and to make any revenue possible), the theater also created a virtual screening room where you can rent films. After paying the virtual ticket fee of $12, you’ll receive a link and password to watch the movie, which will be available for streaming for three days. “The virtual screening room gives patrons the content they’d expect to see if they came here,” such as indie and foreign films like Bacarau and L’innocente, respectively, Moe says. 

The Gables Cinema Drive-In includes science fiction classics such as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” 
The film stars Kirk Douglas and James Mason 

The movie distributors that the cinema works with are sharing between 50 and 100 percent of the profits. “It gives us a little bit of revenue, which obviously is really needed right now,” she says.

The Coral Gables Art Cinema is also making revenue through donations and a gift card drive; for every $25 you buy they’ll add an extra $10. Memberships are currently 25 percent off and, according to Moe, the cinema has more members than ever. “Our audience, our members and our patrons have just really been coming to our aid,” she says. “We are so grateful for having such a loyal and dedicated community. They have been wonderful.”

Through donations, the virtual screening room, gift cards and memberships, the Gables Cinema brought in between $25,000 and $30,000 in the first three weeks after it has closed. Having this income has given the board some breathing room to apply for various loans. 

“What we’re hoping is we’ll be able to keep paying all of our staff while we’re closed, so that they don’t have to struggle,” Moe says. “The organization has been hit, but we wouldn’t be here without the people that keep this place running.”

One thought on “An At-Home Drive-In

  • May 24, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Brenda is brilliant, the way she comes up with great ideas for the Gables Art Cinema even before the virus turned our world upside down. Congratulations to you and and your team at the theater and stay safe.

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