Buffalo movie theaters bring new ideas during COVID


BUFFALO, NY — Even Though New York State Guidelines allow movie theaters to open back up with limited capacity, the seats of movie theaters in Buffalo, remain empty. 

With many movie distributors like Warner Brothers, halting movie releases during the pandemic, theaters around the country are facing a short supply of options to show.

Lynn Kinsella, the owner of the Aurora Theater in East Aurora, tells News 4 why she doesn’t plan on reopening her theater to the general public just yet. 

“The problem that they’re having right now is that there’s not anything really being offered, it’s very limited as far as what is coming out,” says Kinsella. “I think last I checked in March there was supposed to be five considered new releases coming out. Five movies when normally you’d have forty.”

The Aurora Theater reopened in October for the holiday season but decided to close its doors until further notice.

While their seats are empty, their popcorn shop, established in 2016, has gained a lot of attention. The Aurora Theater’s Popcorn Shop sells 12 to 15 kinds of specialty popcorn, including Buffalo Chicken Wing to Birthday Cake, and ships them to places all over the country and even worldwide. 

“I had a woman come in the other day who was shipping popcorn to Europe and some places in Asia,” Kinsella said excitingly. “So our popcorn is going around the world!”

Their popcorn isn’t the only idea that’s in store for the theater. 

An employee of the theater since 2013, Jackson Gavin, who recently graduated with his masters in screenwriting, has always wanted to add a classic series to show the community this spring. 

“It’s a pretty condensed market, there’s only a certain type of movie that people go see, it’s like we’re all kind of in an algorithm it’s just a little saturated I think,” Gavin says on how the theater business has changed throughout the years. “If we get the opportunity to go and see these old movies and feel what they felt back in the day, it’s the feeling and nostalgia.”

The Aurora theater plans on playing a vast variety of genres, from having a Woody Allen week, to different decades of movies, and more details will follow in the coming months.

Classic movies and local artistic films are also available to watch on the North Park Theater’s online streaming services. 

North Park Theater, located on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, is also brainstorming new ideas for the community to help support them while they remain closed to the open public.

“Buffalo is a city with a proud arts tradition, we don’t want to lose it,” says North Park Theater’s Programming director, Ray Barker. “The arts have been endangered by the pandemic and if people think about that then it would be well worth making a donation, watching a film or doing something to support us and these other venues.”

The North Park theater is currently open for private rentals for single-household families for $250 and offers online ticket streaming services for new releases from smaller outlets. Barker also plans on releasing more of the Oscar-nominated films for people to view before the award ceremony. 

Click for information about North Park’s rental services and online movies offered. 

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