The cold winds are whipping at the Jersey Shore, snow blankets the ground and this time of year always reminds me of being wrapped in Awards Season. It’s that period between Christmas and the Oscars – this year scheduled for March 10th – that kept us warm, cozy and active in the film exhibition business. Listening to the podcasts and reading the industry headlines now, I look back fondly on those weeks of curating the best, most popular, and those films that had a chance to win an award so our audiences could watch them in the comfort of an independent cinema. As a small cinema, the battle was always frantic to attain the right mix against the forces of the major chains. 

The Christmas season usually produced two or three contenders that audiences would clamor to see in a theater. The buzz of the Golden Globes, the DGA awards and the frenzy of Sundance continued the box office machine.

Alas, the industry changed through a chance interruption with something called Covid and a pandemic. And we – all of us – changed forever. Or, at least for a long time. Industry prognosticators now peg the cinema slump through 2025.  In 2024, audiences now are more likely to stay at home and wait for their selections to arrive on their big screen televisions through the proliferation of streaming services. The thrill of being enveloped in a film in a darkened cinema with your neighbors is long past. 

And so is the business of film exhibition. The landscape has changed so dramatically I don’t even recognize it anymore. 

Nancy and I are looking forward, though. While most everyone looks back fondly to what we created – and we’re thankful for all your kind words – we’re moving ahead with our current projects in the Asbury Park Arts Council, APTV and the League of Women Voters. ArtsRule still provides us a voice in arts and culture which we’re pleased to continue.

For those of you still watching, Sundance starts tomorrow January 17th. The Oscar nominations are announced on January 23rd. And the Oscar ceremony is March 10th.

If you get a chance, see a movie in a cinema. Please.