Recently I received a letter complaining about the section of reserved seats that are set aside in the mezzanine during our Summer Film Series.
You may not know this, but the Summer Film Series at the Paramount was originally started as a way to prevent the theatre from laying off its entire staff during the lean summer months. It has never actually turned a profit for the theatre, losing as much as $100K (or more) each year. That, however, is the nature of being a non-profit – sometimes you continue to do things simply because it is good for the community.
In recent years the cost of offering these films has gotten considerably more expensive primarily due to the high shipping costs associated with sending and receiving the heavy film canisters. Also, this summer alone, much needed sound system upgrades costs the theatre $50,000.
Members of the Film Fan Club are actually making donations to cover the costs associated with continuing to offer the series for the entire community. In return, as a benefit, we reserve 102 seats out of 1,283 to thank them for their support. Since instituting this program, we have actually seen an increase in attendance at our films. This year, in particular, we are experiencing a record box office.
I certainly hope everyone will continue to take advantage of seeing great, classic films in the wonderfully historic Paramount Theatre. When you see the mezzanine seats reserved (full or not), I hope you will remember that the only reason we are still able to offer films at the Paramount is because of our generous Film Fan Club members.