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Tampa Theatre offering virtual cinema program amid coronavirus pandemic

The theater partnered with independent distributors to offer titles for people to watch in the comfort of their own home.

TAMPA, Fla — With the coronavirus pandemic still pushing on, the Tampa Theatre had to pause bringing people together as a silent movie house and instead find a creative way to still safely share the joy of films.

On March 24, it found just that when the theater started offering virtual cinemas for people. 

“So over the past four months, we've been looking for any way possible to figure out how to provide that entertainment for people when they can't come to the building physically,” Director of Marketing and Community Relations Jill Witeck said.

Tampa Theatre made it possible through film distributors who were able to release virtual films. Patrons are then able to purchase a ticket and view the movie for a limited amount of time depending on the streaming service.

A bonus: you can watch it whenever you like.

“The business end of the deal looks very similar to what we always do,” Witeck said. “We present the movie, the patron buys a tickets, a couple of the dollars goes back to the distributor, a couple of the dollars goes back to Tampa Theatre.”

On a regular day, the theater would only be able to show one movie, but the beauty of the virtual cinema showings is that showings are limitless.

“Especially right now with so many interesting changes going on in society,” Witeck said. “With so many diverse voices coming forward and sharing their stories. We are able to present all of those because our film distributors have been bringing those films to the forefront over the past couple of months.”

Streaming is the preferred platform when watching films but Witeck says that if people run out of things to watch, they can always check out the Tampa Theatre. 

“That’s the beauty of virtual cinemas is that it’s 24/7,” Witeck said.

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