The Crandell Theatre Moves Ahead

Some things don’t change until, eventually, they do. The Crandell Theatre, the not-for-profit movie theater in Chatham, NY, is currently undergoing a number of changes. Over the past two years, major renovations have been made to the building, with more to come.
In April, the theater began offering more films more often and with more choices of times. Previously, one film was shown weekly in the evening and an independent film was shown every other Sunday afternoon. Now the Crandell shows up to three films a week at different times, with both evening and matinee showings. With the increased offerings also come more high-quality films.

For many years, the cost of a ticket to a film at the Crandell has remained in the $5.00 range, an unusually low amount for movie theaters across the country. As of July 10, new ticket prices for Chatham Film Club (CFC) members will be $6.50 for all showings; for nonmembers, the ticket price for evening films (from 5:00 on) will be $7.50, while matinees will cost $6.50. Concession prices will remain the same.

Fred Ulrich, President of the CFC, says the Club is pleased to offer members benefits that go beyond reduced tickets to weekly movies and discounted prices to the annual FilmColumbia film festival. “The Crandell is an essential part of our community, and it will do even better when more of the community is invested in its future,” he said. Ulrich encourages more Crandell patrons to become CFC members, saying, “We want membership to mean something for everyone who visits the Crandell.”

Since 2010, when the Chatham Film Club purchased the Crandell, it has accomplished fundamental improvements to the building’s structure and operating systems. So far, the cost of these improvements is well over $500,000. Distribution costs also figured into the CFC’s analysis of the theater’s economic well-being: approximately 50%––sometimes more—of each ticket goes to pay the distributor, while increased staffing costs are yet another added expense. Even with the increase in ticket prices, says Ulrich, “We remain the best bargain among area movie houses.”

The Chatham Film Club is also pleased to announce that the Crandell Theatre was voted “Best Local Movie Theater in Columbia County” for the second year in a row. The “Best of” awards were handed out by representatives of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, the Register-Star and the Chatham Courier at a ceremony on June 18. Residents of Columbia County and newspaper readers voted online and by ballot for favorites in each of 90 categories.

The Chatham Film Club, a 501(c)(3) member-supported nonprofit, owns and operates the historic Crandell Theatre. The CFC also produces the popular FilmColumbia festival each October. For information on membership or to find out what’s playing at the Crandell, visit