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Arlington Drafthouse Remaining Open With Comedians and Cult Classics

A month into Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse’s (2903 Columbia Pike) reopening “test drive,” the venue is moving forward with more programming, but also adapting for some of the bumps in the roads.

“We’re coming into the fourth weekend,” said owner Tim Clark. “We have kept capacity right around 25% and that seems to be working pretty well. I’m really happy with how we opened. Staff has been great in keeping things sanitized and clean, and making sure people have been adhering to policy.”

While Clark highlighted safety measures like cleaning and distancing, the truth remains that going to theaters amid a pandemic remains a risk. Despite the successful reopening, Clark said it hasn’t been easy maintaining business as customers have stayed away from the indoor venue.

“Everything is quite a bit down,” Clark said. We’ve seen a stronger attendance for the comedy shows. Movies have been hit or miss. Some have done really well, like Back to the Future. Our largest attended show was 20 people.”

Other movies, like 40 Year Old Virgin, didn’t do nearly as well as Clark was hoping, and some reliable blockbusters have also had a disappointing showing.

“Empire Strikes Back didn’t do as well as I thought last week,” Clark said. “It’s more of the cult classics that are doing well.”

The new schedule of upcoming shows highlights the shift towards 80s and 90s classics, mixed in with the Drafthouse’s bread-and-butter live comedy shows and occasional special event.

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