For decades, the Southside Mall Theatre provided the place for folks around Williamson to see movies. Unfortunately, this service was interrupted in 2020, when the pandemic forced their doors to close. Todd Slone, who worked the theatre from 2017 until that fateful closing, was the manager at the time they closed. Then, in October 2021, he got an important message from the owners: they wanted Todd to help reopen the theater.
It’s been hard work for Todd. “When it comes to the reopening, I have been responsible for getting all the projectors back up and running after a long shut down– I’m actually still working on that,” he says. “I have also been tasked with hiring new workers, and working the daily operation of the theatre.”
The hardest part for Todd was definitely the software and hardware issues that had cropped up with the projectors during the time they were closed, and a couple of the projectors are still works-in-progress.
Hardware and software issues aren’t the only problems. A near universal thing standing in the way of theatres now is the rise of streaming services. “Many companies bail out of the theatre business due to things like Roku, and the Amazon Fire Stick, and most big name movies are released on streaming devices, so the profits just aren’t there,” Todd says. “Many of our contacts we had for issues beforehand are no longer in the business, which is what has made the reopening such a long process.”
Despite these issues, Todd feels that they’re close to the finish line. “I can say with confidence that within the next month or so, we will be back to full operation with our movie lineup back up and running,” he says. “As well as getting the website back up and running!”
As of right now, folks at the theatre are using Facebook to announce their showtimes, and they update every Thursday afternoon. One major change for the time being is that the theatre is currently open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Even though it’s been a long and hard road to get the theater open again, Todd believes the benefits far outweigh the work. “The biggest benefit is giving families and kids something to do and somewhere to hang out that isn’t pricey, and gives them the freedom to hang out with friends in a safe and secure environment.”
Many folks have reached out to Todd to tell him how excited they are that they will no longer have to drive 30-45 minutes to the closest theatres. To encourage folks to bring their kids out, they’ve reduced matinee prices. All 2-D movies before 7pm are $4 a ticket, and all 3-D movies will be $6.50.
Looking to check out showtimes so you can finally see a movie in town again? Check out their Facebook page to keep an eye on the showtimes!