Having endured an outdated and rundown theater for many years, it’s no surprise the movie-loving community of Muscatine is highly invested in the continued success of the Palms Theatre. This well-intentioned goodwill has led many on social media to ask questions or express concerns about the health and future of the theater. Today I’m going to ask General Manager Travis Goettl those questions here.
B. N. : Is the theater in real danger of shutting down at this point?
T.G. : That is a difficult question, but no, not really. Certainly, the entire exhibitor industry is in a rough spot right now in light of COVID-19. That said, it is not a realistic fear right now. The theater closing would take no major Hollywood films coming out in the next six months and no additional support from the government for the industry and no community support. Currently, there is hope some big films will begin to be released. Additionally, many state governments are currently looking into supporting the theater industry, including a recent bill in Nebraska. Finally, our community in Muscatine has been very supportive of the theater during this time.
B. N. : How can local people who want to see the theater remain a mainstay in Muscatine for years to come help?
T.G. : Going to the movies is always a great way, especially during the off-peak times such as the weekdays. For those that are not yet comfortable going to the theater, buying concessions to-go is the best way to support the theater. Many people do not realize that concessions, not ticket sales, are the main revenue source for brick and mortar theaters. People can, and are, still coming to the theater to buy popcorn, drinks, and snacks to take home and enjoy. Anytime the theater is open, the public can go inside and just buy snacks, but the theater offers curbside pick-up from 3:30 to 6:00 pm, seven days a week. Patrons should call ahead for best results. Muscatine residents have taken the “snacks to-go” to heart, and the Palms Theatre is performing really well within the Fridley family of theaters.
B. N. : If people come to the theater to watch a film, what safety protocols can they expect to encounter?
T. G. : Masks are required at all times in the lobby, hallway, and bathrooms. Patrons may remove their masks when seated in the theater. Seats are sanitized between each show, and at night as well. Surfaces are constantly wiped down and theater staff are vigilant about hand washing. Inside the theater, at least every other row is blocked off, and groups are expected to keep a minimum of two empty seats between them. Theater staff are available to enforce the spacing requirements in the rare instance that someone violates your space.
B. N. : Are you showing new movies?
T. G. : Yes! It depends on what comes out (at this point, every big-budget Hollywood release since March has been pushed back except “Tenet”) but when new releases do come out, the theater is showing them. The theater has been active in petitioning to get any limited release films that are showing as well.
B. N. : When this is all behind us, what movie are you most looking forward to showing in your XL theater with a full crowd?
T. G. : “Avatar 2”!