Movie theaters are still a no-go in the age of COVID-19, but if you’re looking for a way to augment your Netflix bingeing setup at home — or if you’ve just got an insatiable craving for Raisinets in fresh buttered popcorn — Battle Ground Cinema can hook you up.
Theaters around the world have been closed for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but last week the shuttered Clark County multiplex resumed partial operations to debut a new curbside pickup service for popcorn, fountain sodas, ICEE drinks and candy.
With many movie distributors choosing to push their current theatrical lineup directly to streaming platforms, the gigantic popcorn tubs are the last ingredient that regular moviegoers need to re-create the theater experience in their living rooms.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s statewide stay-at-home order mandated the temporary closure of movie theaters along with all other businesses deemed nonessential, but the concession counter falls under the umbrella of restaurants and other food services, which are allowed to stay open with delivery or to-go orders.
Battle Ground Cinema announced the new service in a Facebook post on April 15, offering customers a way to get their hands on their favorite theater fare without ever stepping foot in the lobby.
The drive-up concession service is available from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. Hungry patrons can place their orders at the box office and have the food brought out to them either in their cars or at the front entrance, and they can also pre-order by calling the theater at 360-666-7205.
The concession service is operating with a temporary abridged menu to speed things up, the theater said, with no hot food items available except for the popcorn. But it does include the full lineup of drinks, candy and cookies, and some new combo bundles that come with free mystery movie posters.
The first two days of service last weekend served as a test run to gauge whether there was enough of a public appetite for theater snacks to sustain the service on a regular basis.
Based on the sales and the social media response, it appears there are a lot of Clark County residents who deeply miss their popcorn; Battle Ground Cinema spokeswoman Megan Carter said Monday that more than 40,000 people viewed the initial Facebook post in the first three days.
“We are going to continue drive up concessions every Friday and Saturday 3 (p.m. to) 8:30 until we can reopen for movies,” she wrote in an email, “which may not be until June or July.”
The stay-at-home order is currently scheduled to run through May 4, but it’s already been extended once, and Inslee stated at the time that he might extend it again depending on how the COVID-19 situation progressed.
Battle Ground Cinema is owned by Vancouver developer Elie Kassab, who also operates two theaters in Independence, Ore., and Sandy, Ore. The Battle Ground multiplex was built by Kassab’s development company, Prestige Development.