Local theater ready to kick off busy year of movies

For almost three years, movie theaters managers have struggled to put people in seats as the pandemic shut businesses down and production companies slowed, not making as many films as they had in previous years.

Occasionally, a big movie like “Top Gun: Maverick” or “Avatar: The Way of Water” came along and boosted sales at local theaters. However, the past two years have been tough.

“Whenever I first took over, it was a little slow,” said Reznor Barnes, manager of the Harrisonville Cineplex who took over in June 2021. “People were just getting back out and getting used to do all of that stuff again. Lately, it’s been picking up with some of the better movies that have been coming out here recently.”

Last year saw a slight resurgence in the number of movies being released theatrically, but there were still plenty of slow times for the industry. That could soon change.

This year is projected to be a boom for movie theaters with a large number of blockbusters and highly-anticipated movies scheduled to be released. It could be just what theater owners and managers have been waiting for since the spring of 2020.

“There are a lot more movies coming out this year than there have been the last couple years with COVID and everything going on,” Barnes said. “People are starting to get more comfortable with coming out to the theater, too.”

Kicking off this year’s big slate of movies is “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania.” The next big movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks to have repercussions for MCU Phases 5 and 6. 

It takes Scott Lang, who has been the star of two of his own smaller movies in the MCU, and pits him against one of the next big villains in the universe. The movie is set to open Thursday and bring a lot of viewers to theaters around the country.

“We’re definitely looking forward to it,” Barnes said. “We’re hoping that will bring in a lot of people. It’s planned on bringing in a lot of people.”

March is also loaded with anticipated releases. Those include “Creed III”, “Scream VI”, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” and “John Wick: Chapter 4.” 

On April 7, one of the biggest family movies of the year will be released. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” will hit theaters and it’s expected to be a big money maker.

If you can’t make it to one of the weekend showings for upcoming movies, the Harrisonville Cineplex and other B&B Theaters offer a deal on Tuesdays. They also offer a free royalty program called Backstage Pass.

“We have $5 Tuesdays, so we get a lot of people coming in on Tuesdays because of that,” Barnes said. 

“People are still coming in and buying concessions when they come in,” he added. “With their backstage pass, they get $5 coupons and stuff like that, so it’s easy to get some money off of that. They still come in and buy stuff.”