As 2020 comes to a close, here’s a small piece of good news: Savoy 16 will reopen with an expanded menu and a free summer movie series.
Phil Zacheretti, president and CEO of Phoenix Theatres Entertainment, which will manage the theater following the bankruptcy of previous owner Goodrich Quality Theaters, said Savoy 16 will be ready to reopen once the state of Illinois deems it appropriate. Region 6 is currently prohibited by the state from having open movie theaters.
“As soon as we get notice that we can reopen, we need a couple days to get the staff ready and the films booked, and we will be open,” Zacheretti said.
Moviegoers will notice a few changes. The concessions menu will be upgraded with made-to-order personal pizzas, quesadillas, premium loaded nachos, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks and a variety of small plates and appetizers. Typical concession fare will include Orville Redenbacher popcorn.
Admission and concession prices will be “comparable to the previous levels,” according to a Phoenix press release. Advance reserved seating will be available for the IMAX auditorium and the recliner-seat auditorium. All other theaters will have online ticketing but not assigned seating.
Though it might not be ready at opening, delivery service is likely to be available for the recliner-seat auditorium soon, Zacheretti said. “I don’t think we’ll have the at-your-seat service because that auditorium really wasn’t built for that. But we’re going to work on delivery service for your food,” he said.
Phoenix will offer a free series of summer movies, running for 8-10 weeks upon the conclusion of the school year. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, free movies will be shown at 10 a.m. “For 20 years we have offered free movies,” Zacheretti said of his company, “and we’re going to continue. The titles will change every week.”
Phoenix has a free loyalty program that provides users one point for every $1 spent. At 50 points, club members will receive a free popcorn, and at every 50-point interval they’ll receive another perk, such as a free soda or movie ticket.
Zacheretti emphasized that Savoy 16 will adhere to accepted COVID-19 protocols. The theater has been sanitized “from top to bottom.” Masks will be required. Plexiglass shields are in place in the lobby, and hand sanitizer is available. Extra time will be provided between films to allow for proper cleaning routines.
Phoenix will endeavor, Zacheretti said, to honor GQT gift cards that were unused before that company shuttered Savoy 16 in March and subsequently underwent bankruptcy.
“We want to keep everybody happy,” he said.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Phoenix manages or owns 144 screens at 14 locations in 11 states. The privately owned company was founded in 2001.
“(Savoy) is a good site, good history, and when the (theater) business bounces back, we expect it to go right back to being the top-grossing theater in that market,” Zacheretti said.