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Popular Austin independent movie theater reopens after year-long shutdown

Popular Austin indie movie theater reopens after year-long shutdown

Violet Crown Cinema theater movie
Violet Crown is reopening with a new program. Violet Crown Cinema/Facebook

One of Austin's premier cinemas is back after a year-long shutdown due to COVID-19. Violet Crown Cinema reopens on March 5, a notable boon for its downtown 2nd Street District neighborhood.

With the pandemic still raging, it will not be business as usual for the indie movie theater. Following a model similar to that of the Alamo Drafthouse and other movie chains, Violet Crown has partnered with RSVP Cinema to rent out full theaters from $50-$100, depending on the time of day, along with the price of individual tickets.

Patrons can select from more than 100 titles to screen, ranging from new films to classics. Once the person selects the movie, date, and time for the theater rental, they are then sent a link to share with friends and family to purchase their individual tickets. 

Among the new titles currently available are a host of award contenders, including Minari, Judas and the Black Messiah, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Sound of Metal, Tenet, Time, Trial of the Chicago 7, and One Night in Miami. Family-friendly films, such as Wonder Women 1984 and Tom & Jerry, are also available.

Violet Crown is also offering dozens of classic films through its JukeBox Cinema program. Screen favorites from the Rocky franchise, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Bladerunner, Caddyshack, The Cutting Edge, Benny & Joon, Crazy Rich Asians, I Am Not Your Negro, Love & Basketball, and many, many more. 

Along with theaters, Violet Crown is also reopening its food and beverage program, though that too is set up differently. Guests can set up the "Order More" text-based ordering service with a Violet Crown staff member and then use the system to purchase food and drinks to be delivered directly into the private theater. 

The popular theater has been shuttered since March 2020 due to the pandemic, but the break has given Violet Crown a chance to make some changes. Along with fresh paint and new artwork, moviegoers will experience enhanced safety protocols such as:

  • professional grade, electrostatic sanitizer sprayers to disinfect theaters between screenings
  • HVAC systems equipped with ionization air purifying systems that have been shown to inactivate pathogens
  • reprogramming of the HVAC systems to increase fresh air intake, ensuring less air is being recycled into the auditoriums
  • face masks required unless eating or drinking in private auditorium
  • plexiglass installed at points of sale and food pickup areas

“Many of our patrons have reached out over the past several months, asking about opportunities for private screenings at our theater,” said COO Melody Smith in a release. “RSVP Cinema allows our guests to experience movies again on the big screen, in a safe and comfortable environment.”