TEMPE, AZ — Pollack Cinemas in Tempe turned off its projectors and closed the doors in March 2020 after the state ordered movie theaters and other businesses to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The discount theater has remained closed since then, but on Friday, Dec. 10, the theater will welcome movie-goers for the first time in nearly two years to an updated and upgraded experience.
Admission remains the same: $3.50 a seat.
"I waited until I felt the timing was right for many reasons to reopen," said owner and real estate investor Michael Pollock in an interview with ABC15 on Wednesday.
All of the auditoriums have been redone, from the ceiling to the flooring, to the curtains and lighting on the walls. New leather seats have replaced the cloth seats and the sound system has been replaced.
The bathrooms have been given a face-lift with touchless toilets, towel dispensers, and soap dispensers. New carpet has been installed in the hallways leading to the theaters, track lighting has been added to the walls, and the lobby awning has been spruced up with one that resembled an Old Hollywood-esque ticket booth.
Pollack was quiet for a long time regarding the future of the theater, leading some to speculate if it would reopen. After all, several larger chains in the Valley closed locations or rebranded throughout the pandemic: Alamo is now Majestic, Look Cinemas replaced Flix Brewhouse in Chandler, Landmark replaced iPic in Scottsdale, and Touchstar Cinemas will replace Studio Movie Grill.
"We just had a lot of things that I wanted to do before we reopened. But as far as how many people have sent emails, have called, have sent letters — thousands and thousands and thousands, because this was, this is an institution, having this theater here in this neighborhood," he said.
To start, the theater will show a half-dozen movies on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, including The Addams Family 2, Dear Evan Hansen, Free Guy, Jungle Cruise, Cruella, F9 The Fast Saga, and Elf.
That's mostly because Pollock doesn't think there are enough good movies out there yet, but he expects the studios to feel even more comfortable releasing their movies.
"I think there are still so many people that want to enjoy their experience with others and they want to enjoy the experience of the big screen because no matter how big your screen is at home, it's not the same as when you come into a movie theater," he said.
Also new to returning customers, online ticketing, and the ability to reserve seats before the show via the theater's website, www.pollacktempecinemas.com.