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

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Most Read