The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Reel time

Box office booms in slow economy

Amy Lawrence | Freelance Writer

Apparently, moviegoers haven’t been tightening their purse strings despite increasing economic troubles. According to a recent article in the “Sacramento Bee,” movie-attendance revenue has gone up 16 percent from March 2008, reaching a total of $1.9 billion.

A large chunk of this month’s revenue can be credited to Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen,” which brought in approximately $55.7 million, topping weekend box office sales – not a bad start for 2009.

Despite the recent rise in movie theater audiences, this upsurge does not necessarily ring true for City College students who are struggling through the economic crisis. Some say they are barely able to keep up with college expenses due to the job market.

“It surprises me that people are spending money when they don’t have jobs,” says City College student Jason Pforsich, 22. Pforsich also admits that his movie-going habits have weaned along with the failing economic struggle.

Melanie Juanitas, general manager for the Tower Theatre, isn’t surprised by this jump in movieticket sales.

“Even with the furlough, people still have a desire to get away from their day-to-day life. So, they seem to keep coming out [to the Tower] to take up some time, see a movie and just enjoy themselves,” Juanitas says.

She expects that there will not be any critical financial changes for the Tower in the upcoming months, even with the bleak economic outlook.

Manager Sid Heberger from the Crest Theatre hasn’t seen much of a change in ticket sales either.

“So far we are holding fairly well. We always prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Heberger says.

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City College’s City Theatre has also had an increase in audience attendance in recent months and there hasn’t been a need for layoffs or cutbacks.

“People are going for medium-priced entertainment instead of expensive things,” says Theatre Department Chair Luther Hanson.

Productions at City Theatre are $15 general admission, $10 for students and matinees.

Other local live theatre companies aren’t experiencing the same growing ticket sales. The Sacramento Ballet has already cancelled the rest of its 2008-09 Season. Three of its 12 staff members have lost their jobs after having failed to meet the minimum income for “The Nutcracker.”

And they’re not the only ones feeling the crunch of these hard times.

Ray Tatar, owner of California Stage Theatre Company, says that he regrets that he has had to lay off many of his young set builders.

He also plans to do more fundraising, lower the student ticket rate and offer discounts and group packages in an attempt to keep Calstage on its feet.

Theater Professor Hanna Rahilly believes that one reason for City Theatre’s success has a lot to do with the bond people feel toward each other at a live theatrical production.

“Going to see theatre helps people cheer up,” says Rahilly, “and realize that we’re all connected in some way.”

In addition, he’s hoping that by diversifying productions, he can draw in more audiences.

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