Small talk is weird. I know people mean well when they see us out in the real world and ask “What’s playing at the movies?” Then, as we struggle to recite at least five titles out of context, they cut us off and finish with “Oh, it doesn’t really matter. I was just asking. I never go to the movies so it’s not important.”
Usually, I deflect the awkward exchange by saying “It’s ok. I don’t really watch movies much either. That’s why we try to do stuff so it’s more than just a place to watch movies.” This leads to the follow up “How can you work at a movie theater and not watch movies?” We know they aren’t trying to hurt our feelings. Just like when we ask “do you need popcorn today?” and someone says “Oh no, we ate a big lunch so we wouldn’t want snacks here.” It’s not mean even if it feels like they are saying “WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO PAY YOUR STAFF! THEY DO NOT DESERVE MONEY!” It’s just a small talk response. But it is possible to support a business like the Palace even if you don’t love movies.
It’s simple really. While we are a MOVIE theater and our purpose is to play movies, we do not survive by playing movies. The studios take as much as 70% of our ticket sales, so if we were to just play movies, we would not make enough money to pay even one employee or our $4,000 light bill. Concession sales keep us alive so it makes sense that we strive to be MORE than just a place to watch movies.
One of the first questions we ask every time we have a new movie coming out is “How can we make this special?” Sometimes, it’s as simple as dressing up for the premier or offering early showtimes for diehard fans. Sometimes, we connect the movie to a special event or charity. We can’t control if you will like the movie, but we can do our best to make sure your experience as a whole is great.
You don’t have to love movies to support the Palace. Movies provide the perfect social environment. You can be an introvert and still be part of the magic. You experience the movie as part of a community without having to interact with those around you. You feel different when you laugh with people or get scared with them if horror movies are your thing. When we create these events around the movies, you can still participate without watching the movies.
For example, we have the Domino’s Pizza $2 summer series starting June 4 (2022). If you donate an extra $5, you will get a pizza from Domino’s. No movie watching required. On June 6, Mini Melts ice cream will be set up outside. A portion of sales will be donated to UW. NO movie required!
We have had photo ops with movie characters, special presentations of all kinds of content, social events, concerts, to-go concessions… supporting the Palace looks different to everyone. You can support the theater simply by sharing our social media posts. You might help someone else find something they will love to do.
Why does this matter? Because when you support the theater, we have an opportunity to support our community. We invest in our local staff, striving to pay them more than minimum wage. They spend that money in your business. We donate to local causes and events. We help fund your kid’s sports teams or church mission trips. We have helped you raise money for adoptions. We’ve given you a place to donate blood. We give you a place to see friends and family as you pass through the lobby. We help you make special memories… first dates…first movies… holiday traditions.
We can also help you get your message out. We offer on screen advertising. You get to sit down face to face with thousands of people and tell them exactly why they need you or your business. Where else can you accomplish that without the potential customer fast forwarding through you?
We are more than a place to watch movies. We are part of this community and hope that you will consider supporting us in whatever way you choose!