Popcorn and all other concessions will not be sold at the IFC Center, at least for now. But films, actual films, will be projected on all five of its screens beginning Friday for the first time in nearly a year.
“The room will be black — you won’t be on your phone!” Kajillionaire director Miranda July marveled in a video testimonial. That’s a dramatic change from the home viewing environment during Covid-19.
The IFC, a Greenwich Village mainstay that took over the abandoned Waverly Theater site in 2005, is among a select number of New York art houses reopening today. The economics are daunting. With state coronavirus restrictions capping attendance at 25% capacity, theaters can expect no more than a few dozen ticket buyers per show in the early going. Even at such modest scale, the market will be watched closely by the film business, which got a lift last weekend with Tom & Jerry grossing $14.1 million despite also streaming on HBO Max.
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After polling its members, IFC decided to reassure patrons (based on their feedback) by requiring masks of everyone on the premises at all times and pausing food and drinks. Even without that crucial revenue stream, IFC GM John Vanco felt it was crucial to reconnect with audiences after a year of isolation.
“People have asked me if I thought about waiting to open,” he told…