After three years darkish, Gorge Cinema to reopen Friday

ELORA – Coming to a theatre close to you, a theatre close to you!

The Gorge Cinema is ready to re-open on July 21 after being closed nearly steadily because the pandemic began in March 2020.

And Payton Curtis, proprietor and operator of the cinema that initially opened in 1974, couldn’t be happier.

“We had some darkish occasions,” Curtis stated in an interview within the theatre as he recalled the early days of the pandemic and the way film theatres at first weren’t allowed to open in any respect and after they might, they might not serve meals or drinks.

“Folks like me needed to actually take into consideration (reopening). I used to be shedding cash hand over fist.”

On the time, Curtis had a landlord who wished to raze the historic constructing and assemble a lodge as an alternative.

So it wasn’t simply the pandemic that had him rethinking the way forward for the film theatre. 

His different job is as a stop-motion animator and he had a proposal to work on a mission with director Guillermo del Toro.

It wasn’t a nasty gig because the film – Pinocchio – gained an Oscar in 2023 for greatest animated movie.

“I like Guillermo del Toro, he’s unbelievable,” Curtis stated. “But it surely was bittersweet going again to work.

“I noticed previous buddies and the movie was an enormous success. It felt good after two years of defeat.”

However the destiny of the Gorge Cinema weighed closely on Curtis. Till he discovered he had a brand new landlord.

Now you will get popcorn or drinks for the brand new outside patio on the Gorge Cinema’s concession stand. Photograph by Joanne Shuttleworth


Kristy Hillis and Don Kogan purchased the constructing that homes each the cinema and the previous Business Resort, and the Elora Mews subsequent door.

Hillis was born and raised in Elora and was horrified to see the state of most of the previous stone buildings when the couple and their kids returned to Elora to experience out the pandemic.

It seems Curtis and Hillis used to experience the college bus collectively after they have been youngsters.

Hillis dedicated to retaining the theatre and put some cash into the power. 

It nonetheless has the identical purple theatre chairs, however there’s new flooring, carpet, warmth and air con, and the washrooms have been up to date.

The primary two rows of chairs have been eliminated with comfortable, low-backed couches of their place.

There’s additionally a licensed patio exterior that’s open Wednesdays to Sundays from 1 to 6pm.

The licensed patio exterior the Gorge Cinema is open Wednesday to Sundays, 1 to 6pm. Photograph by Joanne Shuttleworth


And most essential for Curtis, the projector room is now climate-controlled as nicely, protecting the temperature protected and constant for the advantage of the gear.

The primary movie to be screened is The Miracle Membership, starring Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates and Laura Linney.

The present begins on July 21 at 7pm with a particular 2pm matinee screening on July 26.

“That is mainly a thanks to the various native of us who supported the theatre throughout these tough occasions,” Curtis stated.

“I feel they’ll adore it.”

Baggage of popcorn lay in ready for opening evening on the Gorge Cinema. Photograph by Joanne Shuttleworth


Subsequent up is North of Regular, which begins July 28 for one week after which Oppenheimer starting Aug. 4.

Curtis is hoping to get Barbie as nicely, though that hasn’t been confirmed.

All the approaching releases, showtimes and ticket particulars might be discovered at 

“As soon as we discover our footing, we’ll work as much as two exhibits a day. And I hope to get some youngsters’ motion pictures for matinees,” he stated. 

“We’re not there but however we’ll get there.”

That’s an announcement that two years in the past, Curtis didn’t assume he’d ever be saying once more.

“Hopefully the efforts which have gone into this place will repay,” he stated.

“I’m simply so glad to be displaying motion pictures once more.”