Pandemic Permanently Shutters Hanford Movie Theater
The show won’t go on in Hanford.
Metro 4 Cinemas closed for good on Friday. In a Facebook post, the owners placed blame on the COVID-19 pandemic and the opening of a casino.
“We are sad to announce that, as of today, Movie Heroes will no longer be operating the Metro 4 Cinemas in Hanford and the doors will be closing.”
“With the opening of the Casino and the Covid-19 lockdown, we are no longer able to keep the theater open.”
The post goes on to say, “We love our Metro 4 family, and though this is the end of our story at the Metro 4, we hope that it will reopen in the future with new ownership to provide movies to the amazing community for years to come.”
Coyote Entertainment Center
“The casino,” though not identified in the Facebook post, likely is the Coyote Entertainment Center, which opened in late 2018.
The center, which is operated by the Santa Rosa Rancheria and is next door to Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, includes eight theaters, 1,100 luxury seats, and state-of-the-art projectors and sound systems.
Theater Nearly Closed in 2019
The theater was set to close in early 2019, the new owners came with a plan in June to save the cinema with a program they dubbed “Netflix for theatrical new movies.”
Related Story: Fresno Awards 0% Loans to 116 Small Businesses Impacted by COVIDThey described the unique program in an online post to fans. “The theater was going to close but we have new owners who brought something pretty amazing to the Metro 4. Unlimited Movie Watching! Instead of buying a ticket today, you can sign up to be a Movie Hero, and watch ANY OR EVERY movie that comes to the theater, as many times as you want to.”
Forbes wrote an article at the time about how this new model could save small-town movie theaters. Here is a portion of that report:
“When Matt Sconce got married and returned to his tiny town of Oakhurst, Calif., he was dismayed to see that the one local movie theater was about to close.
“There’s not a lot to do here and now we were losing one more thing,” says Sconce.
But instead of just writing it off to another casualty of modern society, Sconce decided to do something about it. He called his best friend Keith Walker, who was working as a software engineer for Klout in San Francisco, and asked him if wanted to help save the theater. They decided that the best answer would be to create a subscription service for the movie theater. If they could get 3,000 people to each pay $20 per month, they would stabilize the revenue stream at the theater and give people an easy excuse to see more movies.”
Sconce and Walker’s company, dubbed Movie Heroes, has since converted three other small theaters to the subscription model and they are in talks with 60 other independent theaters to add to their roster.