A multiverse of friendly neighbourhood superheroes provided Salmar Theatres with an uplifting end to 2021.
As a moviegoer, Joel de Boer said the Sony Pictures winter release Spider-Man: No Way Home, which saw actors Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire each suiting up again as the iconic webslinger, wound up being one of his favourite Marvel movies. As manager of Salmar Grand, where the movie received significant play over the winter school break, the superhero action flick was something of a Christmas present, bringing fellow moviegoers in large numbers into the local theatre.
“Spider-man definitely helped us a lot and it helped a lot of other theatres out,” said de Boer. “It was kind of nice because we did have that one full week where we had full capacity which definitely helped. And then the following week we had to go back to 50 per cent (capacity) again, so there was a bit of a reprieve where we were able to fill as many of the seats as we could.”
Animated films Encanto and Sing 2 also proved popular with local audiences, with the latter still bringing in crowds on the weekends.
Other year-end blockbusters including The Matrix Resurrections and The King’s Man brought people to the theatre, though not in the numbers expected.
With a slowdown in coming-soon content, the Salmar recently announced as of Jan. 14, the Grand would be open only four days a week, Friday to Sunday, as well as Tuesdays for $5 movie night.
“Right now, with the movie content not really being there, there isn’t a whole lot of people coming to the theatre,” said de Boer. On days the theatre isn’t open, it’ll be available for private rentals.
Reflecting on 2021, de Boer said overall the year wasn’t bad. Another Marvel film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings, did well in September, while actor Daniel Craig’s final outing as British spy James Bond in No Time To Die helped fill seats at the Salmar in October.
“The fall was definitely quieter than I expected, and I do think the vaccine passport definitely played a little bit into that just from the phone calls I got,” said de Boer.
Looking ahead, he’s optimistic things will pick up in a couple of months.
“Hopefully once March rolls around with The Batman, we can fire up and get going,” said de Boer, who is keen to see the back end of COVID-19 and related restrictions. “With this new variant, hopefully this is our last wave that we really have to worry about… andeverything else moves in the direction we want and we can have a normal summer.”
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