So what’s this whole concept?
At Bookhouse Cinema, we’re endeavoring to create a community third space much like an old world pub. We’re not your work or your home or your church or your grocer, we’re here to be part of your connection to the world of cinematic and local art, to be a place where friends can gather in a safe, comfortable, and welcoming shared space. We aren’t a dinner theater, but having food and drinks in the cinema is something we can absolutely get behind. That said, we’re not a space exclusively geared toward movie lovers, drinkers, or foodies. Nonetheless, we try very hard to execute well on all these fronts to give people some of their best, most meaningful experiences they can have in their community and the world of cinema.
About how long should I plan to arrive if I want to get my food into a flick?
Our food always comes from a lot of prep, so we’re fast even though we’re not fast food. Nothing is frozen, everything is made to order, and we don’t use any microwaves or freezers. If we get a slew of orders with special needs, we’re going to pay special attention to those details, cooking surfaces, etc so that might set us back a minute or so, but in the grand scheme it’s not a big deal and we don’t mind special needs orders nor do we feel that it encumbers our ability to push out fresh, clean food very quickly. The short answer. Give yourself half an hour before and after the show to be safe. Grab a delicious meal, catch a unique film, then spend some time with strangers debriefing until you’ve become friends.
Other than movies and food and libations, what do people do at Bookhouse Cinema?
Folks camp out at Bookhouse Cinema primarily for snacks, meals, drinks, and films although your visit could be for any of these. People also catch up with one another (sometimes we have visitors from multiple continents at the same time!), play games, plan meetings, celebrate, attend meetings, give presentations on the big screen, hold fundraisers, sell art and crafts as well as other local goods, study, read books, shadow cast, knit…etc. We maintain a kid friendly space so we like to keep it safe, comfortable, and welcoming.
What kind of films do you show?
The quick answer; everything. Usually the movies we screen are in the first month of their national or worldwide release. We have even screened films before they premiered in LA or NY. We don’t need to please a board of directors or any shareholders, so we pick films that we feel are going to yield the greatest transformative potential and entertainment value. We are very budget-minded and time is a precious commodity so we try to plan carefully in order to maximize the value our customers receive. Not everything we screen is for everyone. Therefore, we try very hard to be thorough in connecting visitors with the best resources for information on the films we screen primarily through our website, but also via our social media pages and newsletters. That said, some of our dedicated visitors come to at least one screening of everything we show, so maybe there are some of us who like a little bit of everything.
How do you decide what to screen?
We try to select films that we believe will be broadly appealing; however, sometimes we’re going to show something that we know won’t be a blockbuster in this decade for the sake of its art. Sometimes someone on our staff has a birthday so they get weight in selecting a feature, sometimes a fellow Joplinite actor has a birthday, sometimes we will screen something because of overwhelming community request. We might know we need to show something the first time we see the trailer simply because we can recognize a value in it that we don’t even have words for. We have been building relationships with filmmakers, producers, and distributors at a rapid pace since we opened in April of 2018 and working hard to meet their demands to secure screening rights on each feature that we show to bring you more experiences.
Are there things you cannot show?
Unfortunately, we can’t just screen whatever we feel like. Some things are simply not allowable for the big screen (or a screen larger than 55 inches). Some films are blacked out for a period of time by the owners because they have another release planned in the near future. There are also restrictions we have to abide due to our technology. Some of the projection technology we don’t possess weighs as much as 800 lbs and may cost more than half a million dollars to install. We’re still a debt-free mom and pop theater and we don’t have that kind of scratch yet. That said, with features that only run in those mediums, we can often find a way to screen them a couple of months after release when the technology has caught up with us. There are severe legal consequences regarding piracy and copyright infringement and the fear of getting blacklisted for screwing an artist out of their due should keep cinemas honest. I know that piracy happens at both independent and corporate cinemas; but it won’t happen in ours. Life is easier when you keep it clean. The cost of screening films and playing the game right might run us as much as $1000 a day in booking fees and that is part of the reason we have to be very careful with what films we select. There is a reason that many multiplex cinemas charge exorbitant rates for snacks. We have opted not to do that and instead offer a wider array of stellar products at an affordable but deeper value.