Max Theatres

Max Theatres co-owner Larry Pedley puts butter on a bowl of popcorn as co-owner Aileen Pedley collects cash from Gayl Tutje of Sibley at the Sibley movie theater. The cinema is showing classic films as it slowly reopens during the coronavirus pandemic.

SIBLEY—Sibley is once again reeling a little bit of Hollywood back to town this summer.

Larry and Aileen Pedley have owned the 103-year-old Max Theatres since 1981.

“It’s become part of our life,” Pedley said. “It’s home.”

After being closed about two months due to state restriction because of the coronavirus pandemic, Max Theatres has been reopened since May 29 and is showing classic films to get people slowly back into the theater.

Last weekend, the theater showed the 1994 Tom Hanks comedy-drama “Forrest Gump.”

“The plan is to kind of fill-in some dates and get people the opportunity to go back to the theaters until the new releases come out,” Larry Pedley said.

He said there could be some new movies coming into his theater as soon as next month.

“It looked like something was going to come out in July, but just this morning, looking at the news, it looks like a few of the titles are being set back another week or two,” Pedley said. “It’s looking more like the end of July before some of the newer titles are released.”

Max Theatres employs five people.

The business currently is only showing films Friday-Sunday, but it does have plans to expand its showings.

“If we start seeing attendance increasing and people wanting more movies or start asking for movies in the middle of the week, we’re going to do whatever we have to do to give them what they want,” Pedley said. “Right now, we’re just kind of treading the waters, seeing how things go, and if people are behaving themselves, doing their social distance because we want to make it as safe as we can for them.”

He said attendance at the movie theater has been “minimal” and once the movie theater starts getting more of those newly released films, it will go back to a full daily schedule.

“It hasn’t been outstanding at all,” Pedley said. “It’s been very slow. It could be because the titles are something they’re not interested in or maybe it’s because they’re a little bit spooked about going to an environment where there’s more people than they’re used to.”

Max Theatres is showing the 1989 sports comedy “Major League.”

“It’s an older film, but it’s a sports film,” Pedley said. “Our thinking is a lot of people haven’t been able to watch the ballgames, so maybe they’ll just be hungry to watch a baseball game movie.”

He plans to start offering two movies the weekend of June 26-28: the 1978 musical romantic comedy“Grease” and the 2017 musical biographical drama “The Greatest Showman.”

Pedley also said he has tinkered with the idea of showing other classic movies too.

“There’s some possibilities,” he said. “It’s kind of whatever we can come up with. We can run a whole series of “Rocky” movies, which people would want that. It’s kind of a day-by-day thing.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds last week removed a restriction limiting movie theater capacity to 50 percent although they still are required to ensure at least 6 feet between each group or individual attending.

Pedley said Max Theatres will not be anywhere close to full capacity anytime soon.

“That’s just too much,” Pedley said. “We’re probably shooting for 25 percent and then it will be looking at maybe 50 percent until things change. We’re actually requiring a two-seat space. Each side of you and a row behind you.”

For those who are watching movies and other entertainment at home during the week, Max Theatres sells popcorn 6:30-8 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday, something it has been doing throughout the spring.

“It’s kind of something to offer the community because everybody’s locked in at home, basically,” Pedley said. “This gives them an opportunity to come out and get something that reminds them of real life and gets them some good movie theater popcorn to take home, and watch a movie there or any TV programs they were planning on doing that night. Plus, it also gives us a few extra dollars to pay some light bills and different things like that.”

The movie theater also sells coffee on Saturdays through its Movie House Java Coffee Shop.

“We’re basically open for that on Saturday mornings,” Pedley said. “Usually, if we have the coffee machine, somebody wants a coffee during the movie, but not many people want caffeine at 7 o’clock at night.”

It has been an odd transition to be back in business, but Pedley said the best has yet to come.

“We’re looking forward to some of the newer movies that were scheduled to come out,” Pedley said. “‘Top Gun’ and the new James Bond movie should be coming out later on in the year.”