Charlevoix Cinema III Future Owner in Hopes to Save Theater

Like many small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charlevoix Cinema III was planning to close their doors at the end of the month. But now, their General Manager and future owner is working to keep their doors open.

08 12 20 Charlevoix Cinema Sot.new.01The current owners, Mary and Luther Kurtz, reopened their theater in June with a smaller capacity and older movie showings. However, money was still tight.

“Mary came to me and mentioned that for business reasons, they’re just not able to sustain the theater as we are currently running with the lower attendance and the older films,” said General Manager Tom Jillson.

Jillson was originally supposed to take over ownership of the theater in November 2021, but with the uncertainty of staying open, Jillson decided to assume his position early.

“Luther and Mary even waved rent for a year on this place,” said Jillson. “They have been beyond generous making sure this place stays open.”

Jillson decided to start a GoFundMe page to receive donations to keep the theater running.

“The funds that we’re gathering are for operational purposes only,” said Jillson. “We are needing to be able to pay for the film booking, the royalties back to the film companies, just the normal operating expenses such as utilities. Those are big costs that stack up very quickly to help keep these doors open.”

His goal is $75,000 in hopes to have enough funds to carry over to Memorial Day 2021.

“Any money left over I’m going to give right back to the community in the best way that we can see,” said Jillson. “Whether that’ s free movies in the future, free popcorn, or donating it back into other social organizations. The intention is to help the cinema. If we can give back and there’s anything left over at the end of it, that’s our plan.”

The cinema is also offering discounted movie tickets as well as bookings for private viewing parties.

“Whether it’s families, maybe some elderly groups where they know they can be comfortable here, we offer that as well,” said Jillson.

The cinema has been a staple in the community, and residents want to keep it around for many more years.

“It’s important to keep it open,” said Charlevoix resident Joan Buday. “There’s not a whole lot of recreation around here for everybody to attend for all ages so it’s a huge asset to the community. It really is.”

More information about the Charlevoix Cinema III can be found here.

Categories: Coronavirus, Michigan This Morning