By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
After seven and a half months, Oxford’s movie theater is screening films again. The iconic Oxford 7 at 48 S. Washington reopened Friday, Oct. 30.
The seven-plex theater will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to give the road construction downtown a chance to wrap up. “Our plan is to be a full, seven-day-a-week operation just before Thanksgiving,” said Heath Thomas, Vice President of Operations for Goodrich Quality Theaters.
Thomas has been reopening the GQT theaters across the state, since movie theaters in Michigan were allowed to reopen Oct. 9 at 20% capacity. “Business has been okay, it hasn’t been blockbuster by any means, but during this time we would keep it from being overly crowded anyway in order to allow for social distancing.”
Originally scheduled to open Oct. 23, Oxford 7 was among the last of the GQT theaters to reopen. “We had a little bit of an equipment issue and some staffing issues that we needed to hire some extra people,” Thomas explained. They have also done a massive cleaning. “Everything has been scrubbed and sanitized.”
“We’re operating with a reduced seating capacity, of course, and we’re asking people to follow the CDC guidelines for masks. And we’re adding extra time between shows in order to clean.”
Their safety plan, posted on their website, includes “the 3 S’s of Safe Distancing, Sanitizing, and Safely Following Guidelines.” Each auditorium will have limited capacity. Guests must leave three seats between groups of people. Masks are required in common areas such as lobby, hallways, and concession areas.
“We’re opening to give people a chance to come out to the movies, safely, and be able to get out of the house a little bit. . . We’re glad to be opening back up and we’re here to safely serve and provide quality entertainment at a reasonable price.”
Tickets and concessions are lower than before. Morning matinees (shows before noon) are $5.50, matinees (between noon and 6 p.m.) are $6.25, children (3-12), seniors (62+) and military/students with valid ID are $6.25, and adult evening (Ages 13+, all shows after 6 p.m.) are $7.75.
The theater is showing Come Play (PG-13), War with Grandpa (PG) and Honest Thief (PG-13). It’s also showing throwback movies for $3.
“The popcorn hasn’t changed,” reassured Thomas, “It’s still the same good popcorn.”
Although the theater closed amid the pandemic shutdowns in March, its owner, Goodrich Quality Theaters, Inc. was already in the midst of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. In July, a New York-based real estate partnership (Masson Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group) acquired the regional chain, including the GQT trademark and the Oxford 7, for $12 million according to the asset purchase agreement.
GQT Movies will honor the old Goodrich Quality Theater Inc. gift cards, it said in a statement.
By James Hanlon