Row House Cinema will open its doors on Sept. 3, which is 18 months after closing on March 15, 2020 because of pandemic restrictions on non-essential businesses. The theater will kick off with a three-week-long soft opening for its Film Club members, followed by a full public opening on Sept. 25, marked with a sold-out gala and screening of Pulp Fiction, the first movie ever shown at Row House when it opened in 2014.
“We can’t tell you how excited we are to start showing movies again,” says Row House Cinema owner Brian Mendelssohn in a press release. “Our whole staff is basically re-learning how to run a movie theater this summer, and we’ve got some fantastic programming lined up for the remainder of 2021.”
The soft opening will feature a chronological retrospective of feature films from the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s, with selections ranging from timeless classics to teen comedies. It kicks off with the original 1954 Japanese monster movie Godzilla, followed by the celebrated Southern Gothic thriller Night of the Hunter and the acclaimed 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot.
On deck are a batch of beloved cult features, including the haunting documentary Grey Gardens, the ghoulish romantic comedy Harold and Maude, and the French animated sci-fi film Fantastic Planet. Other titles that film lovers can look forward to seeing on the big screen are based-on-true-events crime drama Dog Day Afternoon, the 1996 drug odyssey Trainspotting, and the French film La Haine, as well as 90s teen rom-coms 10 Things I Hate About You and Pleasantville,
Tickets for the soft opening screenings are now available for purchase on the Row House site.
Film club members will also have exclusive access to the theater and private screenings from Aug. 20–Sept. 2.
Since shutting down, Row House has consistently made efforts to serve the community, including launching a virtual cinema platform and teaming up with The Terminal to host outdoor screenings in the Strip District. The theater also expanded into film distribution with the acquisition of the indie feature Monuments.
Overall, Row House says it relied on its “virtual cinema, popcorn sales, private screenings, and the adjoined bottle shop Bierport to keep it afloat during its closure.”
Similar to pre-pandemic times, theater-goers will be able to purchase beverages at Bierport and bring them into the theater. However, during the soft opening, there will be fewer showtimes than usual and a reduction in certain services.
But as of Sept. 25 of this year, the theater will "operate normally and show some of the theater’s most popular movies."
“We’ve got time to make up! It’s about time we bring awesome movies back to Butler Street,” says Mendelssohn. “Our whole staff is so grateful to those who supported us throughout our closure in big and small ways. Pittsburgh is the best!”