COVID-19 still brings fear to many people’s daily lives. Although it is the capstone for fear, daily living is not the only subject to undergo change, but businesses must also change. For Broken Arrow and its residents, this includes the closing of Regal’s Warren Theatre. This location has closed its doors without notice of when (or if) it will return. For some students and faculty at Immanuel, this news comes as a surprise, adding to yet another list of changes since the start of the pandemic.
Senior Ramsey Al-Rawi was “shocked” to learn that one of his favorite movie theatres was closed.
“I always thought it was cool, with its comfy chairs like Cinemark and food. People just don’t want to see movies anymore. I always thought Warren was people’s favorite though,” Al-Rawi said.
While Ramsey had some experience visiting this theatre, he argued that Cinemark has a better movie-going experience. Freshman Liam Eden was a big proponent of the Warren theatre, citing it as his “favorite.”
“It always felt like a proper theatre, with the stars on the ceiling and the big and luxurious atmosphere,” Eden said.
One memory that leaves a lasting impact was his experience with the latest Star Wars film.
“It was cool to be around tons of people dressed as different Star Wars characters. It was my first visit and it was all cool to look at. It was even Christmas themed,” Eden said.
This dedication to the facility’s well being is what gives Warren a “consistently welcoming vibe”. The news of the closure sparks the need to find answers as to how such an event could occur. For Eden, the closure could have been predicted long before COVID.
“It’s the ticket prices. At other places, you can pay less for a movie and save on cheaper seats,” Eden said.
While consumers make up the difference between a successful movie theatre and a poor one, employees also have special insight into the inner workings of the company. Such is the case for alum Liam Carr, who lived near the theatre for several years.
“It was too nice for the area, and it was at one point a big attraction for Tulsa. It may have performed better in a wealthier area, such as Jenks or Bixby,” Carr said.
This “attraction” quickly became normality for the citizens of Tulsa, and Liam has a guess as to why.
“Over the seven years it was open, it never improved. There were also managers and employees always coming in and out. It became less noticeable because there were no upgrades,” Carr said.
Treasurer Kayla Brinkman agreed that, without proper changes to the way a business operates, it is doomed to fail.
“They needed to utilize their creativity to make sure people still come. People go to the movies for an experience, and right now they can choose to stay home,” Brinkman said.
Brinkman is one of many families who have turned to such services as HBO Max for their entertainment. HBO in particular has launched a new campaign, bringing new movies to their streaming service the day they launch in theaters.
“I don’t have much free time, and it makes for better time management to stay home for the movies,” Brinkman said.
Movie theatres may begin to drift away as streaming services become more popular, but Liam Carr always believes there will be a special place for these iconic locals.
“I believe these theatres will become like 50’s diners for our generation. They will still exist, but they will only be around for nostalgia,” Carr said.
Hopefully, in spite of the numerous challenges facing the now dying industry, physical movie theatres can return, with the hope of many to guide it.