Focus on the film: local theaters prioritize value over aesthetic appeal

The Roosevelt Theatre and Silver Cinemas at South Hills are both stuck somewhere between the 1950s and 1970s. These two theaters are not the most aesthetically appealing to the modern eye, but they do appeal to the budgets of moviegoers throughout the mid-Hudson Valley.

This characteristic is shared by both theaters, which is a strength for the Roosevelt Theater but a mere reality for South Hills. “I always choose to go to Roosevelt because of its cheap prices. Even though Roosevelt is outdated, it is more appealing especially if you are going to see a scary movie,” said Rebecca D’Antuono, a Marist College junior. Luckily, to the advantage of college students, who quarrel at the idea of paying upwards of $11 for a movie at the Poughkeepsie Galleria that they will pirate or stream online in the following weeks, these two theaters share another characteristic; they are both cheap.

Perhaps their most appealing characteristic, the Roosevelt Theater charges $8 for adults, which falls below the average movie ticket in the United States for 2013, according to a July 23 article in USA Today by Scott Bowles. However, if a Marist College ID card is presented the cost is just $6. The Roosevelt also offers bargain night on Tuesday when all seats costs $5. Seeing a first-run film for $5 is an opportunity that Marist students should take advantage of, which seldom exists today. “Choosing Roosevelt over corporate theaters such as Regal help support local business while providing a unique and old fashioned experience for customers”, said Doug Weller, a Roosevelt Theatre employee.

The cheap prices of local theaters are clear in comparison to nationwide averages. - chart by Kyle Hannafin

The cheap prices of local theaters are clear in comparison to nationwide averages. – chart by Kyle Hannafin

Silver Cinemas at South Hills charges $3 six days a week with seats selling for $2 on Tuesday. However, the South Hills theater shows “sub-run” films. Sub-run films take up a majority of South Hills’s eight screens, which is the catch. But South Hills also features semi-first run films. For example, their best selling movie at the moment is “Rush”, which premiered in early September.

During the winter months when temperatures make going out to a bar seems like a transcontinental trek across Antarctica, seeing a $2 or $3 movie is an appealing alternative. “Most college students have no income, so for me it’s an easy way to save money,” said Ty Gamble, a Marist College sophomore.

South Hills is located at the rear of the South Hills mall on Route 9 and is less than a mile from the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The South Hills theater is literally a hidden gem. Buried between the back of Shop Rite and Burlington Coat Factory, the theater at South Hills is a tough place to find. The face of the building dons no signs that indicate it is a movie theater and not an abandoned shopping mall. A grotesque overhang draws the eye to the brown brick building that used to be a mall that opened its doors in 1974. Incredibly large movie posters hang like tapestry from the lobby walls. But the intentions of South Hills management is to provide customers with quality films at reasonable prices, said George Taylor, manager of the South Hills theater. South Hills is successful at executing this business plan.  According to Taylor, the theater draws mostly families, college students and seniors who take advantage of the low prices.

The Roosevelt Theatre is located in historic Hyde Park and is four miles from Marist’s campus. The theatre was established in 1950 and co-founded by Elliott Roosevelt, the son of former president and first lady Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Today, the theater displays the slogan “See the best for less” on its glass doors, which summarizes its appeal.

A college student’s weekend agenda likely does not include sitting home being bored with friends. On the rare night when going to a bar is not the first priority, taking a short drive, either north or south on Route 9, to the movie theater can be a welcoming option. The Roosevelt Theater and Silver Cinemas at South Hills fit the “hole in the wall” label, but do not let their appearance and cheap prices deter from their longstanding quality. Customer service and appreciation are routine at both establishments, which have been in business for over 40 years.

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