Long lines, sold-out movies greet reopened Isis Theater
June 24, 2002
If the eager crowd that lined Hopkins Avenue on Friday is any indication, the new owners of the Isis Theater can look forward to a long and prosperous future in Aspen.
Movie buffs hoping to see any of the theater’s 7 p.m. round of films – ranging from action flicks to family fare – formed a line stretching past the theater and into the street, occasionally blocking traffic on Hopkins. Many waited nearly 15 minutes before reaching the theater’s ticket counter, only to find out that “The Bourne Identity,” along with popular comedies “About A Boy” and “Big Fat Greek Wedding,” sold out well before show time. Theatergoers were treated to similar conditions Saturday when the same three shows sold out again.
Isis Manager Lucas Schvindt, a longtime employee of the Isis’ new parent company, Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas, estimates the theater served between 2,000 and 3,000 guests during its first two days of operation. Schvindt said the unusually high number surprised just about everyone involved with the Isis’ reopening, especially RMRC President Marshall Smith, who was in Aspen to oversee opening-day operations.
“[The opening weekend] definitely exceeded our expectations,” Schvindt said. “If every weekend goes like this one, we’re going to stay open a long time.”
Sunday was a relatively lazy afternoon as theater employees saw only a steady stream of customers, rather than the previous day’s jam-packed lobby. But Schvindt said Aspen’s interest in the new-and-improved Isis would probably keep the theater busy for the rest of the summer. He and assistant manager Beth Harris reported quite a few compliments from customers on everything from the theater’s cleanliness to its state-of-the-art sound system.
“This is what we needed – to know that all the investment was worth it,” Schvindt said.
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Harris said she fielded a few questions about the Isis’ new owners, mostly from Aspen residents familiar with the theater’s rocky road to reopening. After a previous owner’s bankruptcy and Pitkin County voters’ refusal to use sales taxes to lease and operate the theater, many were concerned that the Isis’ success would be only temporary.
Harris assured her customers that a new owner would mean a new lease on life for the Isis.
“We’re not in that company, so we’re going to be around here awhile,” she said.
Many customers are crossing their fingers that Harris is right. Those leaving the Isis after Sunday matinees seemed happy, aside from a few complaints about the theater’s booming sound system, that the Isis is back in business.
“I’m definitely glad to see it back – there’s more variety,” said Aspen resident Scott Humphrey, fresh from a “Bourne” screening.
Though she misses the “funky” Isis enjoyed by Aspen residents in the theater’s heyday, Betsy Weil said she’ll frequent the current theater in the months to come.
“We’re thrilled to have it open,” she said.