The Fate of Batavia’s Randall 15 Theater

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Photo by businessyab.com

Batavia’s Randall 15 Theater, located on Randall Road. Their shutdown comes after the company filed for bankruptcy just before the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020.

       The movie theater experience has always been a very special part of society. As early as the 1900s, families and friends have gathered together to experience the thrill of viewing their most anticipated feature-films on the big screen. The major motion picture industry has evolved greatly over the course of several decades, with many brands building their movie theater empire throughout the nation. These popular theaters include AMC Theaters, Cinemark Theatres and Goodrich Quality Theatres. Collectively, these three theater chains have over 1,100 locations nationwide that currently sit in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

       Although the movie making industry continues to thrive, the way in which movie goers watch movies has changed. The streaming of movies on Hulu, Netflix and AmazonPrime, to name a few, have simplified the experience, bringing new movie releases directly into millions of homes weekly. Because of this new high-tech method of watching movies, people in the movie theater business are facing hardship. 

       During what has already been a difficult time, these theaters are now presented with COVID-19, resulting in a mandated theater shut down and leaving these businesses financially unstable– locally, nationally, and regionally. Right now in Kane County, many popular theaters are facing this loss and hardship. Particularly, Randall 15 Imax Theater which is located right next to T.G.I. Friday’s and across from Portillo’s on Randall Rd. in Batavia. 

       Now the 15+ screen Batavia theater sits empty with hundreds of vacant seats, and not a sound in the building. There are no young couples holding hands on their first date, no giggling group of teenagers who’ve been waiting to see a movie for the past year, no dads and daughters experiencing their favorite pastime–it’s all put on hold, for now at least, as the fate of Randall 15 IMAX Theatre continues to linger.

       According to wwmt.com, “GQT filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020, just ahead of the COVID-19 shutdown.” Though it is being presented as COVID-19 being the main culprit, many believe that it is a combination of both industry changes and the pandemic. 

       Back in March, at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Batavia theater had completely shut down. As said directly from GQT Randall 15 IMAX on Facebook back in March of 2020, “Goodrich Quality Theaters (GQT) is currently closed in light of the mandated COVID-19 shutdown. We wish our customers and business partners safety during these unprecedented circumstances. With any luck, new movies will be back on the screens with the popcorn popping!” 

       The history of Randall 15 IMAX Theater is so rich and full of pure memories. “The Batavia theater was built in 1994 as a 10-screen facility,” according to the Daily Herald. Sadly, the creation of those moments are put on hold for now, and possibly forever, for the popular theater on Randall Rd.  

       Despite this harsh reality COVID-19 presents, many remain optimistic for the theater’s future, including its president, Mark McSparin, who stated,“We are truly excited to be acquiring and reopening the GQT theaters, and we remain optimistic about the future of the industry,” stated Mark McSparin, President of the New GQT.

       As for what’s in store for the big screen over the next 100 years, only time will tell. Perhaps a sequel for Goodrich Quality Theaters?