After a few weeks of making a go of it with second-run films and social distancing in front of the big screen, Wildwood Theatres Movies 16 in Janesville has closed again, this time indefinitely.
Manager Sarah Lehr on Tuesday confirmed the theater on the city’s northeast side will shutter for a second time this year, its operations apparently on pause until film studios begin releasing summer blockbusters that have been repeatedly delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Facebook post this earlier week, the theater announced the decision to close, saying in the post that closure was effective Monday and would run “until further notice.”
“We hope to be able to welcome you back soon with new releases!” the post reads.
The theater had reopened over Fourth of July weekend after a three-month shutdown. Management at the time hoped the cinema could draw enough revenue playing classic films such as “Jaws,” “Back to the Future” and “The Goonies” for crowds weary of being stuck at home during the pandemic.
The theater had limited seating capacity as a social distancing measure, and management had temporarily shuttered self-serve snack kiosks and suspended free refills of popcorn and drinks.
In an earlier interview, Lehr told The Gazette studios planned to give theaters word on when some films would finally see release. Some of the films that theaters had pegged as major draws were again delayed by studios, according to national media reports.
Other than to confirm the theater’s closure, Lehr did not offer a Gazette reporter details, and the theater has not given an indication of when it might reopen.
The theater on its Facebook page indicated its decision to reopen and temporarily show classic films apparently was not paying off.
“Unfortunately there wasn’t enough interest in the classic titles we were playing to support the operation at this point,” the theater explained to a moviegoer who asked why the theater was closing again.
“Makes sense,” one moviegoer commented on the theater’s page. “Went and saw ‘Dark Knight’ w/my daughter. We had the theater to ourselves ...”
Movies 16 remained closed Tuesday, with no new announcements of when it might reopen, although the theater had posted as a backdrop on its Facebook page an advertisement for the new, smaller-budget Russel Crowe horror-suspense film “Unhinged,” which is now slated for release July 31. That film had been earlier delayed until fall, but later was slated for release in early July before being delayed again several weeks.
The forthcoming new spy film “Tenet,” tabbed as a major summer release, has been delayed a second time, this time indefinitely, according to national media reports this week.
Other major releases, including a live action adaptation of Disney’s cartoon film “Mulan” have been delayed until mid-August. Other big features such as the latest installment in the “James Bond” film series previously were delayed until sometime in the fall.