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Sweet Onion Cinemas

Something big is coming back to our community. The Sweet Onion Cinemas closed during the pandemic but the owners are planning on reopening the day after Thanksgiving to bring its five theaters back to this community.

The cinema originally closed in April of 2020 and the Parkers tried to reopen in July of that year, but in the middle of the pandemic there were not enough people coming to see movies to stay open. Then the movie industry shut down, as there were no new releases hitting theaters.

At that point any new movies went to online streaming and video on demand. But the industry has seen the benefit of having releases to theaters first, and give them a window before sending movies to streaming services.

It has been a long process for owners David and Melanie Parker, but they have made the decision, and are making a huge commitment as they are remodeling and improving the theater for their community.

The Parkers know that it is an experience when going to a movie theater that few can replicate in their own homes. Experiencing the movie on the big screen with the high quality surround sound that just immerses the moviegoer into the movie is an experience that you cannot replicate. To have the fresh popped popcorn, to be able to shut off your phones, put all the distractions aside an truly get away and let yourself be a part of the moment is something that everyone can enjoy, and the Parkers are excited to be bringing that back to Toombs County.

Each theater will be filled with all new rocking seating, new projectors, and new audio equipment to bring a top quality experience to movie goers. The owners are also putting in a new HVAC system that not only will move more air and make the facility more comfortable, but it also uses ionic filters that will make it a safer environment by being able to filter out most pathogens.

Along with the new equipment they are also redoing the concession area with new machines that will keep the facilities more sanitary. There will now be two areas with a fountain drink area, new popcorn machines, and more.

Many of the upgrades do not just improve the comfort and experience for the customers, but they serve another function in making it easier for the Sweet Onion Cinemas to clean and keep the theaters sanitized. The Parkers have gone this route as they want their customers to feel safe while coming out to see movies the way they are meant to be seen. The Parkers have also improved continued from page

the bathrooms to make them easier to clean as well.

With the upgrades, and along with having to follow guidelines on cleaning and sanitizing not just from state and federal rules, but also from the National Association of Theatre Owners, they do expect the cost per ticket to rise, but they are hoping to keep that at a minimum.

Melanie said, “We have had a great response since the word has started to get out about our opening, and we are excited. In just six hours after putting out the info on social media we have seen it reach over 20,000 people, and we have had hundreds of likes and comments. We started this business for this community, to provide a place where families and kids didn’t have to travel to be able to go see movies, and so teenagers didn’t have to be on the roads late at night to Statesboro or Savannah. We did it to give this community something that we thought it needed, and we have been blessed over the years.

“We know there are not going to be five to 10 movies released every week at this point as the industry begins to reopen, and we are working with our distributors to get everything we can.

“We love being able to have families come to see movies. We always try to have at least one movie playing that is oriented just for families, because that is something that they can do together, spend time together, create memories, and just have fun together. We love to be able to be a part of that for them and that is our preference, to have that family focus.”

With the day after Thanksgiving slated as the opening date for the Sweet Onion Cinemas, they have currently booked three movies, Venom: Let There Be Carnage a DC Universe movie, The Eternals a Marvel Universe movie, and

Encanto a Disney movie. They continue to try to book more movies as they edge closer to the opening date.

They have also booked their annual showing of The Polar Express, which will be scheduled for December 18 this year.

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