Friends of the Majestic
Created by former employees of the Majestic Theatre, Friends of the Majestic is a non-profit organization with the current goal of fundraising to reopen this beloved staple of Crested Butte, CO.
We are fundraising with the goal of leasing the Majestic and reopening late summer 2021. We are grateful for the strange yet helpful break that Covid-19 has provided and hope to emerge from the pandemic with an effective long-term plan for our community's only movie theater. Our tax exempt status with the IRS is pending, but all donations can be tax deductible if back-dated.
For nearly 30 years, the Majestic Theatre has been a cornerstone of our community. As the only theater in the Gunnison Valley, our community relies on the Majestic as a cultural resource.
Our primary goal is to preserve the Majestic for future generations. We do not want to constantly fight to keep a movie theater in our town. We believe the intermission COVID is causing in the movie industry is the perfect time for our community to band together to re-image our theatre in a way that makes it sustainable long-term.
We are currently working to secure a lease on the Majestic, beginning late Summer 2021. Securing a lease will allow us to receive our tax exempt status. Once we've secured a lease and our IRS tax exempt status, we hope to raise $300,000 for reopening maintenance and six months of operating costs.
Why Non Profit?
Three surveys conducted between 2008-2010 by the Bryn Mawr Film Institute found about three-quarters of small movie theaters are nonprofits. We are not the first movie theater to make the transition to a non-profit model. This is how small town theaters are surviving.
We did a lot of research trying to find the best way to re-open the Majestic without the fear of it closing shortly after. While streaming services like Netflix and Hulu make the future of movie theaters uncertain, we believe our community will always want a shared experience in a physical gathering space. We learned through our research that the small movie theater market is actually hyperlocal, and depends more on the economy locally than what movies are being put out by Hollywood. With the continued growth of Crested Butte, we are confident the Majestic will continue to be successful here.
As a non-profit, we will secure grants and government funding so that we have less reliance on the Hollywood movie market, and more opportunity to host films and events that are important to our community. We will also be able to solicit the support of our community so that if we lose money showing a film— since studios can demand such a deep cut of our profits—we can still exist to screen more films that our community wants or needs to see.
We will start an after-school film club with CBCS and GHS to educate our local kids on the art of film. We will host movie and discussion nights with Melanin Mountain Project to bring more black voices to our community. Profits from the Majestic will be used to support enriching programs like these, and also to keep ticket and concession prices affordable. We will donate our space to host fundraisers for other local nonprofit organizations. We will use a corner of our lobby to showcase local artists. We will show films made locally and host events that build community around film.
Check out the Paradise Theatre in Paonia for a great example of a nearby non-profit movie theater!
Why do we need a movie theater?
How do you measure the impact of a single movie theatre? Do you remember the first movie you ever saw on the big screen? Maybe it was at the Majestic? Do you remember your first date to the movies? How many movies have you left feeling renewed, inspired, or changed? Movie theaters are a space for people to think and be present, or to escape reality, or to gain independence, or to bring families together, to eat popcorn, to laugh, to cry, to feel, to learn. The Majestic is the only movie theatre in a 2 hour radius of Crested Butte.
The Majestic is just a part of what makes our town so unique and charming. It adds to the vibrancy of Crested Butte by delivering movies from the outside world and providing our community the opportunity for a shared experience. The Majestic is safe, fun, and affordable nighttime entertainment for the kids and teenagers of Crested Butte. And for those kids growing up here who aren't super into skiing or biking, it can help show them what going on in the rest of the world. At the same time, the Majestic can transport visitors back in time with its retro feel. For tourists from bigger cities, they may have never seen a small, independent movie theatre. Nostalgia is a powerful force, and we have it at the Majestic. Lastly, the Majestic is embedded into so many local and visiting families traditions. How can we take those traditions away from them?
The Majestic Theatre is the only cinema in the Gunnison Valley. Let’s save it.
As a non-profit, the Majestic will begin offering much more than Blockbuster films. While we intend to keep 2 of our 3 theaters dedicated to showing first and second run movies, we will cater our picks more to our community's interests.
We plan to turn the third theater into an event space, available anytime, 7 days a week to be used by the community. Potential uses of this event theatre are:
after school CBCS film club
Hosting Crested Butte Film Festival screenings
showcasing local filmmakers
karaoke or spoken word nights
movie and a discussion with Melanin Mountain Project
hosting Sweaty Kids Film Festival
Matchstick movie nights
sober nights in partnership with GCSAPP (Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Project)
Town of CB presentations
fundraisers/events for other local organizations
video game competitions
filmmaking art camp with the Trailhead
music or cultural live streams
Additionally, we will partner with different businesses to enhance the Majestic. We will serve Mikey's Pizza slices, cookies from The Breadery, and First Ascent coffee. We will commission local artists to design our merchandise!
The re-imagined Majestic Theatre serves to entertain, educate, and inspire the Gunnison Valley through new movies, local films, community events and collaborations.
We harness the power of movies to provide an escape or a learning experience for all members of the Gunnison Valley. By creating more opportunity for local events, the Majestic operates as an essential community resource.
We believe wholeheartedly in the power of storytelling to create change. Crested Butte can be an isolating place, and oftentimes we get lost in our own town and forget about what's going on in the outside world. We believe it is essential to bring different perspectives to our valley, and potentially help community members develop empathy for people we don’t often encounter in our corner of the world.