(This is copied from the latest CC Cinema email newsletter. I am not affiliated with the Cinema in any way. I just like to see movies there and want it to stick around.)
An Important Message for Movie Lovers
Save Our Cinema
Listen up if you like having a movie theater in Columbia City. This is important.
As you know, almost six years ago we rolled into Rainier Valley and became the little cinema that could. Thanks to a few miracles and fantastic community support, we're still here showing first run movies and serving the community. But it's been a struggle all the way. We've always been underfinanced, we've often had to appeal for help, and we had a huge setback when a tenant defaulted costing us about $25,000. We had to build two new screens without enough money to do it and we've never found anyone to help us re- structure the resulting debt. We've been playing catch up ever since and despite good business we've never really recovered. The debt is just too big.
Now we're in serious trouble. Times are tough. Attendance has slipped the past few months putting us farther behind and six months of substantial shortfall have finally caught up with us big time. We don't have money for the rent. We don't have money to pay for film. We don't have money for loan and lease payments.
Over time we have kept the cinema alive one way or the other, more for the sake of the community than for profit. There hasn't been any profit. Not until the debt disappears. No cash reserves to fall back on either. We've already blown through our inheritance, emptied out the offshore accounts, sold the boat and the Ferrari, and got rid of the vacation condo in Cancun to keep the place alive. There's nothing left.
For the last few months we have been in a state of undeclared Chapter 11 holding creditors and lenders at bay, trying to figure out solutions. We've danced our way of trouble and imminent closure several times but we're running out of options. Use any metaphor you want: We've hit the iceberg and we're going down. We've avoided checkmate a dozen times but we're running out of moves. We're almost out of gas. There are no more rabbits to pull out of the hat. You get the idea. We are in endgame unless something happens to turn the game around.
Though we hate to do it, we are asking you for help one more time. You've bailed us out before. We hope you will again.
Here's what you can do.
Send money. The good news is we don't need a lot. We just need a little from a lot of people. We believe in the power of many. We're trying to raise $20,000. That much will catch us up, pay the rent, keep the doors open and carry us through to the big summer movies that begin in May, when we can breathe again. The bad news is we need it now, today, from all of you or survival is iffy. We are the perfect poster child example of a neighborhood cinema in need.
Don't worry. It's not like you're throwing money away on a lost cause. We intend to be here for a long time. There are too many nice people we need to pay back. We know we can raise that much. We've done it before. When we do, we will have bought ourselves another six months. During that time, other financial solutions we've been working on will come online and finally stabilize us once and for all. That's the plan anyway.
But until that happens, we need one more miracle. We need you to step up and help. So here's the deal:
We don't expect you to send money and get nothing in return. The big payoff is you get to keep a cinema in the neighborhood. The other one is that, out of gratitude, we give you a piece of beautiful, untouched virtual land to use and enjoy any way you can.
For any amount, large or small, our thanks and sincere appreciation. Every little bit helps.
For every $20 you give, you get a bogus but nice-looking stock option against the day when the cinema might actually issue stock. Don't know if that will ever happen but we've been thinking about it. You'd be in on the ground floor.
For every $100 you give you get five bogus stock options plus five acres and a half mile of waterfront in the newly acquired Cinematopia Island virtual land mass hovering in the ethersphere above the Puget Sound basin. No really. Land so beautiful and untouched that you'll never see its like again. Thought you couldn't afford to be a landowner or have an island getaway? Think again. Being in the cinema family has its privileges.
For $500 or more you get the requisite stock options and your own 5000 acre national park or wilderness preserve. Beautiful untouched land for only $10 an acre. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it?
So hurry. This offer is limited. Only the first 1000 donors will be selected for free land and stock options. Be one of the elite one thousand smart enough to get in on the beginning of something big.
Too late for the Enron collapse? Miss out on the Wamu meltdown? Not enough cash to lose big with Bernie? Here's your chance to change all that, ride the wave, and be among the lucky few.
To those of you who remember our earlier land offer and went for it, thank you and congratulations. The virtual land you bought a few years ago has tripled in value at a time when land values everywhere else have declined. And it saved a cinema. How's that for return on investment?
The same thing will happen again. A lot of families, schools, daycares, restaurants, shops and nonprofits depend on us. By donating you save our cinema, help the community and become a virtual landowner/philanthropist/community supporter. We hope you understand the urgency. We're not crying wolf. This is real. We're not kidding. It's all up to you. How much will you give to keep us here?
We're hoping for a scene like the one in It's a Wonderful Life where everyone comes forward to save the Building and Loan. We're hoping to send you another email soon that says "Thank you. Crisis averted." In fact, we're counting on it.
And that's it. This offer has not been evaluated or approved by any government or regulatory agency. Side affects may include a warm feeling of happy participation, glowing satisfaction at doing good and rising pride in the continued survival of your charming neighborhood cinema.
Thank you all for helping.
You can mail or bring in your donation or charge your donation by phone during business hours.
One last thing: please pass this appeal on to as many people as you can.