October 22, 2021

Cinema in Cortlandville to reopen under new owners

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Lydia Mekeel, general manager of Crown City Cinemas, stands at the ticket counter Thursday. The moviehouse, under new ownership, opens this week with private showings of classic movies.

The closing of the former Plaza 6 Cinemas movie theater in Cortlandville due to the coronavirus pandemic was disappointing, said Lydia Mekeel, the theater’s general manager, but it has allowed time for transitioning and rebranding as Crown City Cinemas.

Movie houses are still closed to the public under the state’s reopening guidelines, but Crown City, which has been closed since March, will start showing films again this weekend through private, though not public, screenings.

“It’s very exciting,” Mekeel said. “I think it will give everyone something new to do since we’ve been stuck in the rut.”

Since movie productions have been shut down by the virus, the theater plans to show a mixture of classic and more recent films with the focus on family-friendly movies. This includes the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Jaws,” “Despicable Me” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

The decision to do only family-friendly movies, at least for the time being, was “so we have something for everyone to come see,” Mekeel said.

To get tickets, guests visit the theater’s website, www.crowncitycinemas.com, and then either call or email the theater for which movie they want to see and when. The minimum purchase for a private screening is eight tickets.

Screenings will occur at 12, 3 and 7 p.m.

Thursday through Sunday, with movies staggered at 15-minute intervals to allow for social distancing, according to the theater’s website. Individuals or groups of people will be spaced out at least two seats from each other, according to the theater’s website.

Masks or face coverings will be required when in the theater’s lobby and other areas but can be removed during the film.

Other changes to the theater include accepting credit card payments, new upholstery and a new owner, said Sarah Dovi, who has been helping Mekeel with the theater’s reopening.

During the shutdown, most of the work has been cleaning the theater, Dovi said.

“I’m proud to be a part of revitalizing Cortland,” she said.