Shannon Davis, manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, holds up the largest available bag of popcorn available for sale at the theatre. It also also sells four smaller sizes in generating revenue following its closure last fall because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Shannon Davis, manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, holds up the largest available bag of popcorn available for sale at the theatre. It also also sells four smaller sizes in generating revenue following its closure last fall because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Vancouver Island theatre can’t give you movies, but it can serve popcorn

Sidney’s Star Cinema using popcorn sales to prop up COVID-plagued bottom line

Every kernel of popcorn counts.

That is the attitude of Sidney’s Star Cinema as it remains closed against the backdrop of public health measures designed to contain the continuous COVID-19 pandemic.

The iconic cinema with its current temporary location in the 9800-block of Fifth Street has not opened to the public since November 2020, but continues to reel in customers through twice-weekly popcorn sales on Friday and Saturday nights in continuing a long-running practice.

General manager Lindsey Pomper said the business would rather be open, but the sales do make a difference.

“It’s pretty much the only revenue we were able to take in,” she said. “We have applied for different government supports that they have offered to small businesses as well as some grants. We are holding on and we are hopeful that we can be open soon. It has been very challenging.”

RELATED: Sidney’s Star Cinema looks to reel in audience with reopening

Pomper said the sales have gone well and help maintain the theatre’s connection with the community. “It’s nice to see people come out,” said Pomper. “We hear folks saying that they want to support us in any way they can. They miss us being open and they miss our popcorn. That definitely helps tide us over, but it would be way better to be open.”

It is not clear when that moment will come, but Pomper sounded a note of optimism when she pointed to plans in other places around North America to re-open screens. It is not clear what sort of impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on audiences increasingly accustomed to accessing streaming services crammed with television services and cinematic features — including current releases — from the comfort of their living rooms.

Pomper said it is hard to assess the impact.

“Part of me feels that people have a desire to go see movies outside of their homes,” she said. “But I think streaming services have transformed a bit how people are consuming entertainment now.”

RELATED: Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain on temporary location Friday

Another factor shaping the future of the industry is the pace and progress of vaccinations and personal comfort levels.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a quick recovery,” she said. “The industry is a bit scared about releasing movies and not making any money off them. Regardless of how this year looks, it is going to be bit of a challenging year.”

Star Cinema continues to seek additional revenue streams.

“We are in the process of applying for a variance through the provincial health office to return to doing our household-only private rentals,” she said.

RELATED: Sidney’s Star Cinema reduced to rubble

The business can also take some comfort in the fact that construction of its new, permanent home as part of the Cameo Condo project, a mixed commercial-residential development at the corner of Sidney Avenue and Third Street, the theatre’s historic location prior to its demolition, remains on track.

“Construction was listed as an essential service, so that didn’t really lose a beat during this past year, so things are on track,” said Pomper. “We still have another year, year-and-a-half to go. There is still time and hopefully we can re-open at the temporary theatre and actually use it.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Duncan has begun the process to prepare a new transportation plan. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan gets on board with transportation plan

But high cost raises concerns

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
North Cowichan to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

Abby Dyer of Shawnigan Lake School. (Submitted)
Shawnigan Lake School poet wins top prize

Abby Dyer has won first place in the Senior Poem category in the Legion’s Youth Remembrance Contest

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read