Now Playing: Gamers Taking Over Big Screen At The Casino Theatre
MOUNT POCONO – With the pandemic hitting the movie industry hard – shuttering movie production, and stalling releases of completed films – even if a cinema wants to open, there aren’t any new releases to put the fannies in the seats. The industry has tried to recycle the classics – E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park, have been some of the re-runs offered to theaters around the country, and Mount Pocono’s Casino Theatre & Village Malt Shoppe tried going that route as well.
“It just wasn’t attracting enough people to justify staying open,” said Don Struckle who, with his wife Karen, are the second-generation proprietors of the borough’s iconic downtown mainstay. So they turned to what they are known for – innovation and inspiration.
The Casino was already a breed apart from most cinemas, thanks to a broad spectrum approach to their business. Offering quality sandwiches, burgers, and more on their food menu (and delivering your meal to you in the theater), an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and soda fountain, miniature golf, arcade games, and a retro-gift shop, the Casino is not the single-purpose building like the other movie theaters.
And now, they’ve done it again. Searching for a way to leverage their investment in the two theaters at the Casino while Hollywood was not producing, and movie-goers still reluctant, Karen and Don hit on another innovative concept – lease out the theaters to gamers.
Gamers can bring along up to 24 of their friends, and use the Casino’s Nintendo Switch, or their own game consul (as long as it is HDMI compatible) to play their electronic games on the theater’s big screen. The Casino’s digital movie projectors blast the images onto the movie screen for really big time competition.
With plenty of room to socially distance, gamers can reserve an entire theater for only $25 an hour. They can use the games offered by the Casino on its Nintendo Switch, including Mario Kart, Mario Party, Monopoly, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Animal Crossing, and Sonic Mania. Players can also bring their own Switch or X-Boxes, and they will hook those into their on-screen system.
In addition to games, patrons can bring their favorite DVD and rent out the theater to watch it with their friends and family (25-person limit).
Rental of the theater for up to three hours is available in one-hour blocks, seven days a week, from Noon to 9pm. It’s a flat rate of $25 an hour, regardless of the number of people. In keeping with CDC guidance, the group is limited to 25 people. A waitress will be assigned to your party so you can have your favorite Casino offerings delivered to you (food, drinks, and ice cream costs are in addition to the rental fee).
You may see the same idea popping up around the country – when word of their innovation got out, Karen and Don were invited to address a virtual meeting of the National Theater Owners Association to present their concept.
But for now, it’s only in Mount Pocono. Combine the gaming or movie with a celebration or birthday party for a COVID-friendly alternative. The Struckles will put together food, popcorn, drink, or ice cream packages for your group, too! To reserve a theater, or for more information, call the Casino at (570) 839-7831.