When you only have one screen, as is the case with Tampa Theatre, you can’t afford many – maybe any – misses. Most movies go a week, maybe two. Rarely more. Among the exceptions: “Capote,” “March of the Penguins” and “Brokeback Mountain.” Now add “The Lost City,” the film based on the work of the late novelist Guillermo Cabrera Infante that nostalgically chronicles the end of an era in Havana.
It recently completed a three-week-plus run.
As a market with strong Cuban roots, it was thought that “The Lost City” could draw well here, explained Tara Schroeder, Tampa Theatre’s community relations manager. Local Hispanic media and the Cuban Club helped get the word out. And actor-director-co-producer Andy Garcia agreed to do print and radio interviews with local Tampa media.
The first weekend’s gross was $14,300, which is roughly four times a good weekend. That kind of box office prompted Tampa Theatre to extend the run.
“We started getting calls and e-mails early on,” says Schroeder. “A lot of people had personal ties. Some came to see it more than once.”
And some lingered long after one Friday showing for an animated “cinema chat” that was equal parts pre-Castro reverie and post-revolution revulsion.
“I was getting teary hearing people’s stories,” recalled Schroeder.
She was not alone.