It’s tough owning a movie theater. Among many other pressures, you depend on brief windows of time for nearly all your revenue.
For patrons, time is tight too. Besides evenings, it’s hard to sneak away for a couple of hours to see a film.
Which is why theater owners and movie-goers alike love the Morning Movie Club.
The premise is simple: Organizers rent an entire theater. Once a month from October through May, promptly at 10 a.m., club members have their choice of any film being shown on that theater’s screens. There are no previews; you’re in and out. As the credits roll you head back to carpooling, the office or your other daily responsibilities.
The Morning Movie Club came to Fairfield County thanks to Kerry Anderson and Michelle Howe. The women heard of a similar effort in New Jersey, and figured it would be perfect for this area.
Kerry’s background is in banking; she also served as director of Swim Across America. When her first son was born she stepped out of the workforce. But she wanted to engage her mind, in the limited hours she had.
Kerry and Michelle proposed a Morning Movie Club to their local Bowtie theater in Greenwich. That’s the same company the New Jersey club used; the owners knew the formula worked.
The Greenwich Bowtie has 3 screens. It’s an “arts theater,” so the films are targeted to adults.
Last year, the Morning Movie Club expanded to a 4-screen Wilton Bowtie. It’s a “family theater,” meaning many of the offerings were “kid-friendly.”
Too kid-friendly, in fact. Which is why this year, the Morning Movie Club has moved its Wilton chapter to Westport.
Well, Kerry calls it Westport. They use the Bowtie in Norwalk — just over the border on Route 1, which in our neighboring town is called Westport Avenue.
It’s a great venue. There are 6 screens; the seats are very comfortable, and there’s a full concession stand. (Including a bar. Kerry notes drily, “I hope our folks don’t use it at 10 a.m.”)
It really is a “club.” A yearly membership costs $100, for 8 movies. Non-members are not allowed in to the morning movies.
Organizers also partner with local businesses, offering amenities like discounts. In Westport that includes Shoes & More, Aux Delices and Green & Tonic.
Morning Movie Club members include stay-at-home parents, and those with paying jobs. There are also retirees, like Kerry’s father. He’s in his 80s; he doesn’t like to drive at night, so the show time — and lunch after, with friends — is perfect.
“The idea is so simple. You slow down, and take 2 hours for yourself, to see a film,” Kerry says. “You may be better in the office, or as a mom, afterward.”
It’s all pretty clear. In fact, the only question mark is which movie to see.
Theater managers make purchasing decisions on Mondays, Kerry says. As soon as they do, she and Michelle send an email with that month’s options to all members. They add preview links to all films on that theater’s screens.
Which is great. Because there are no previews at the morning movies themselves.
That in itself is worth the subscription price.
(For more information on the Morning Movie Club, click here.)