Here is a must-read open letter recently sent by Salem Cinema owner Loretta Miles to the members of her e-list. I had heard from a friend that there were problems brewing there and was sad to see them confirmed in today’s inbox.
I hope that more people in Salem will take notice and spend some money watching great films in addition to paying for cheap burgers.
Dear patrons, friends, movie lovers and fans of Salem Cinema;
Independent movie theaters, especially those like Salem Cinema specializing in art, foreign and independent film, are on the endangered species list. We do not have corporate money to see us through hard times and there is no fall back, other than to rely upon those who most appreciate our contributions to the communities that we enrich. We are a dying breed; Salem Cinema is not immune and, in fact, is currently at risk. The economic downturn could not have come at a more inopportune time than it did…as you recall, my beautiful new theater, built as much upon your wishes as my dreams, opened just 6 months after the great Wall Street collapse.
The film industry is down in general this summer, a time that film exhibitors like myself usually count on to see us through the slower months to come, and unfortunately once we lose that momentum it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain enough cash flow to cover our ever increasing cost of operation. The large chains compensate, in part, by continuing to raise prices. I, however, understand that the continuing sluggish economy has affected each and everyone of us and have not raised my prices in nearly 3 years. I have assumed that by showing you that I care about your pocket books that you, in turn, would continue to find value and worth in supporting Salem Cinema.
Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case of late and it is with much sadness in my heart that I reach out to you, my loyal supporters, and ask that you step forward and become Salem Cinema’s guardians and emissaries. I am struggling. I know you love my theater, I know you appreciate my film selections but if Salem Cinema’s destiny is not to be the same as that of our once beloved Jackson’s Bookstore I need to see you more often.
Last Friday, after a conversation following the movie, one of my wonderful patrons posted the following on his blog. His loyalty not only brought tears to my eyes but made me realize that I could not have said it better myself. Please read what John, who now will always have a special place in my heart, had to say. I hope that you, too, will take this to heart and share it with others:
You already know that I love what I do. We both know you love movies and the magical escape they offer. Only with your contributions and support will I make through this crisis and be allowed to continue to enhance to your life one captivating movie moment after the next. I need you now more than ever.