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The Alamo Drafthouse location in Springfield is now temporarily closed, the local franchise owner said. Why? Hollywood isn’t releasing movies it’s already made.

“Due to the lack of upcoming major new releases, we’ve decided the best way to conserve our resources during COVID is to temporarily close our Springfield franchise location, effective immediately,” said John Martin, local franchise owner, in a statement provided to the News-Leader late Monday.

Word of the change began circulating overnight Saturday on social media postings by members of the Springfield theater’s film club.

Martin said movie screenings at the Springfield Drafthouse have been canceled and guests who already bought tickets will receive a refund. 

He called the decision to close again after reopening on Aug. 21 “terribly difficult and disappointing” but said he hopes the theater can open when Hollywood begins “a steady stream” of new releases.

Separately, a company spokesman told the News-Leader Monday that the Drafthouse chain “remains open across the country.”

The news follows Saturday reporting by Variety that delayed Hollywood blockbusters prompted Drafthouse to close several locations in Dallas and Omaha. Meanwhile, the USA TODAY Network in Austin reported late Monday that one Drafthouse location in Austin faces a lawsuit over back rent.

The only potential blockbuster movie left on the 2020 calendar is a Christmas release for “Wonder Woman 1984,” Variety reported, and a Disney picture was recently moved to Disney Plus rather than theater release. Meanwhile, a new adaptation of “Dune” and a new James Bond movie were pushed to next year.

Reports: All Regal movie theaters — including downtown Springfield’s — temporarily closed

Industry faces ‘devastating’ pandemic

The Alamo Drafthouse closures began less than a week after Cineworld closed all 536 of its Regal movie theaters nationwide, including the one in downtown Springfield.

Nearby, nonprofit art-house theater Moxie Cinema remains open at its facility on Campbell Avenue. It’s running weekends only with 25 percent seating capacity, executive director Mike Stevens confirmed Monday.

“I’m actually working on our schedule right now,” Stevens said in an email. “We’re starting two new films: ‘Sh#!house’ (a Sundance stand out) and the new Bill Murray film ‘On the Rocks.'”

AMC Springfield 11 remains open with 40 percent seating capacity, according to its website.

The movie theater industry is in turmoil during the coronavirus pandemic. The National Association of Theatre Owners pleaded with Congress for CARES Act aid on Sept. 30, calling COVID-19 “a devastating financial blow to cinemas.” The association said 69 percent of small and mid-sized theater companies may soon be forced to file for bankruptcy or close permanently, eliminating two-thirds of theater jobs.

Roughly 150,000 people work in movie theaters nationwide, the association said.

Gregory Holman is the investigative reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to gholman@gannett.com and consider supporting vital local journalism by subscribing. A link is available at the top of this page.

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