Ambler Theater ‘thriving’ post-pandemic, ‘Barbenheimer’ a hit

The Ambler Theater was featured by WHYY in an article titled “Big movie theater chains are struggling. But a chain of quaint, local theaters in Pa. and N.J. is doing just fine”.

According to the article, Renew Theaters, the small nonprofit theater chain which operates the Ambler Theater, is “thriving” in spite of corporate giants AMC and Cineworld struggling post-pandemic.

“Barbie” was the number one movie on E. Butler Avenue in 2023, which led to the successful advent of “Barbenheimer”, or the back-to-back screenings of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”, WHYY said.

“‘Barbenheimer’ was huge for us and one of the things that finally brought people back to the theater,” said Chris Collier, executive director of Renew. “We had a lot of people saying this was the first time that they were back. 2023 was an exceptional year with a lot of good movies.”

The article briefly documents Ambler’s historical ascent from an asbestos king to a cultural destination, as well as the theater’s changes over the years before finding its current form and owner in 2003.

“I’m a big fan of this theater because it’s more than just showing movies. It’s an anchor. It’s a community center. It’s where people want to be,” Bernadette Dougherty, 74, the longest-serving founding board member of the Ambler Theater, said. “We just recently had our Hollywood Awards Night where we have a nice little reception first and then we show the Oscars on the big screen. The ladies get dressed up in gowns and boas. We had a sea of pink this year. Everybody was Barbie. So it was so much fun and everybody feels that this is their theater.”

Renew Theaters also operates the Hiway Theater in Jenkintown, the County Theater in Doylestown, and the Princeton Garden Theatre in Princeton.

For the full story, you can click here. For more on the Ambler Theater, you can visit their website.