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'We weren’t expecting this much change': Marcus Corp. CEO reflects on effect of the pandemic and the return to normal

Marcus theatre
Posted at 6:57 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 11:18:40-04

Movie theaters have been one of the hardest-hit businesses in this pandemic.

We met with Greg Marcus CEO of The Marcus Corporation to learn what the past 13 months have been like, and how soon he thinks we will get back to normal.

From the first Marcus Theater in Ripon, Wisconsin 86 years ago, to 89 nationwide today.

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The Marcus Corporation CEO Greg Marcus had held onto this advice from his father through this entire pandemic, “The only constant is change and so you have to be ready for it — we weren’t expecting this much change!”

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The only constant is change and so you have to be ready for it.

Movie lovers like Marcus himself felt the red carpet pulled from under him when we all lost this respite to unwind, “It’s easy to take things for granted and all the sudden when you can’t do it you say, ‘Wow.’”

You may recognize Greg Marcus from all the fun spots he puts together before each movie plays at his theaters. Here he describes how fun it has been over the years:

Greg Marcus on how fun it has been over the years

His employees may have felt the change as many theaters temporarily closed throughout this pandemic. He explains, “We had at our peak 10,000 employees we’ve gone down to about 5,000 now that will go back up again. I don’t know where that number ultimately ends up, but it will be more than it is now.”

With more people getting the vaccine, he is confident in us rebounding soon, “I think, by the end of May. Our industry does the surveys. Right now it’s in the mid-60s, 60-percent say we’ll go to a movie right now.”

Marcus shares when he expects the movie business to fully rebound:

Marcus shares when he expects the movie business to fully rebound

They have been able to bounce back, by pivoting in the pandemic. This includes "Marcus Private Cinema" screenings, where you can rent out an entire theater for a small set of people you are comfortable with.

“That's been really helpful,” Marcus says.

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Confidence has also had a boost after implementing contactless ordering on tickets and food, along with vigorous cleaning, “I think people have a higher cleanliness expectation, and we have to live up to that.”

“I think people have a higher cleanliness expectation, and we have to live up to that.”

Most of all, Marcus says they are in it for the long haul and can do that because they have not built up any debt.

That’s his best advice for entrepreneurs, “Don’t over-leverage yourself don’t put too much debt on your business especially when you don’t know who’s coming on a given day we couldn’t have imagined this.”

Click here to book your next movie to watch at Marcus Theaters.

You can also click here to learn more about Marcus Hotels.

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