Jerry Brandt

Movie attendance is down, but GPRC eports other successes at annual meeting

    Nationwide struggles in the movie industry have impacted the Peerless Theatre this year, but as a whole, Golden Plains Recreation Center countered those challenges to make for a decent year.
    At the Nov. 16 GPRC/Peerless Center annual meeting, board president Jerry Brandt said he expects them to finish the year looking “OK” and went on to explain that means a zero dollar bottom line or better, which is an improvement over last year.
     Some movie weeks this year have been the lowest in the last 15 years, and a 35 percent decrease in box office income reflected that. Treasurer Jolene McCallum pointed out that the trend was widespread, affecting theaters across the country. Much of that has to do with increased streaming options available, she added.
    Board member Cherrie Brown interjected that the positive side for GPRC is that they are more than just a theater, they are a whole recreation center and she is confident that the Peerless will come through the adjustments as it has before.
    Some changes in structure have helped keep the Peerless on track financially. When booking manager Becca Brandt resigned this year, the board opted to reassign her responsibilities to the volunteer board members and the general manager, a move that has the potential to save $5,000 annually.
    “Each board member has stepped up, and it’s made a difference,” Brandt said. They are now handling such duties as building the movies, changing the marquee and managing the website and Facebook page. Brandt also commended board members for being very active on committees.
    Board members have also begun volunteering for shifts to run a register at the movies. These and other changes, Brandt explained, have helped them reduce almost all expenses to some degree.
    The new Peerless general manager, Katie Andersen, reported that on the positive side, donations are up 260 percent this year, and advertising sales are up 79 percent. Brandt noted that a large part of the increase of donations came from contributions by board members themselves, showing the level of love they have for the facility.
    Andersen also reported that this year gymnastics and dance classes returned to the Peerless Center. McCallum noted that grant money enabled them to put down new flooring in the dance studio and a game room in the basement. Donations of furniture, electronics and games for the game room have also made a big impact.
    It’s good seeing kids have a place to come play games, use the gym and take classes, Brandt said. It serves to meet part of GPRC’s goal to provide recreation for the youth.
    “We hope the last five or six weeks of this year will be a solid finish for us, and we look forward to coming activities next year,” Brandt concluded.
    
CineMagic up 169 percent
    This year CineMagic returned to the Peerless Center after being held at the Event Center in 2016, and the fund­raiser netted $16,137.61, an increase of 169 percent.
    CineMagic committee chairperson Erin LeBlanc noted that hosting the event at their own facility limits the number of tickets available, but the board sees it as an important way to highlight the theater that they’re all so passionate about.
    Micaila Frazier asked where next year’s event will be held, and LeBlanc responded that the decision will be made with the new board after the first of the year.
    CineMagic serves as a prime example of community members having a huge impact on GPRC despite not being on the board. Sherry Simms, Penny Dockins and Bob Brandt were recognized for their contributions to the event.
    Brandt noted that the Peerless is successful because of the people who volunteer. There is always room for more community members to serve in the game room, concessions or on committees without being a board member.
    
Kids’ movies top 2017 box office
    Though they trailed the top three movies in 2016, the Peerless Theatre’s top films this year were “Cars 3,” “Despicable Me 3” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

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