August 12-- Owners of the privately owned Sweet Onion Cinema in Vidalia are again asking the City of Vidalia to cease showing movies at the tax supported Pal Theater in downtown Vidalia.
Theater co-owner Melanie Parker first requested relief at a city council meeting in May, then met with city officials in June and Monday night made her third appeal at the August meeting of the city council.
Based on limited information gained through Freedom of Information requests, Parker claims the movie showings alone are in the hole by almost $6,000 since the Pal began showing movies last August. She says the city has promised a full accounting next month.
"I think that up until now we basically have encountered not much help and not much understanding of what we're trying to get across. I think once the City completes the evaluation they promised, supposedly next month, if they include all of the date pertinent to the operation of the Pal showing movies then I think they will be shocked and surprised at the loss of revenue as a movie theater competing with our theater," Parker said.
Parker and her husband, David, applaud the use of the Pal as an event venue, however, they think it's unfair for a private business to be forced to compete with the City for customers.
City Manager Nick Overstreet promises an accurate profit and loss statement by the middle of September, "We will take the statistics from August 1 of last year when we began showing movies through July 31 of this year. We'll evaluate that as far as expenses and revenues and other items. It does involve movies, concessions, staff and different variables. Once we do that, we'll give them the information they requested around mid-September."
In the past Overstreet has said he doesn't think the Pal competes with the Sweet Onion Cinema because he said it doesn't show first run movies, however, Parker cites an example when the movie "Unplanned" was shown at the Pal and resulted in lost ticket sales for the movie at the Sweet Onion Cinema.