ORINDA, Calif. - It's a landmark in the East Bay: the Orinda Theatre. And in December it will celebrate its 79th birthday. But the coronavirus is taking its toll. And the Orinda's owners are looking to the community for help.
"Most movie theaters make 50% of their revenue in June and July, which carries you for those slow months. Well we obviously lost June and July," says owner Derek Zemrak.
They'll lose August and September too. And with bills mounting the theater needed to act. They calculated their costs, about $165 thousand dollars, and then looked at the total number of Orinda residents.
"So I divided that and that's $8.28 per resident. That's 1 ticket. So that's why we started the 1 ticket challenge. Would you purchase 1 ticket, virtually, to save the Orinda Theater?" says Zemrak.
Already, the Gofundme campaign has brought in about $72,000.
The theater is also auctioning movie posters and paraphernalia, like life-sized Star Wars statues.
And they've been doing weekly popcorn and wine drives.
Tommy O'Dowd, a theater employee, is hopeful they can raise enough.
"With or without the generosity of the community, I worry. I love this place," says O'Dowd.
He says he misses the history, the movie magic, and of course his regulars, some of whom have been coming since the theater opened in 1941.
"It's all about emotion and how this place makes you feel. we are not any other large theater chain. We never will be. There's history here. people have memories tied to this place, some good and some bad. And they want to come back," says O'Dowd.
The owners point out that residents saved the Orinda Theatre once before, in the 1980s when it was at risk of being torn down. They're hopeful the community will come through again.