The Broad Theater reimagines look, feel of movie theaters


John Ludlam | Staff Photographer

The Broad Theater’s mix of mainstream, experimental and indie films appeals to a wide variety of movie-goers in the Mid-City area. The theater, less than a year old, stands out through its industrial interior and intimate screening rooms.

While AMC theaters are usually the go-to when spending a night out at the movies, New Orleans has local options that are not only more convenient but also more interesting. As with other institutions, the city breaks the mold on conventional theater design and operation.

The Broad Theater offers a refreshing moviegoing experience. The theater is located on North Broad Street less than four miles from campus. It is the only movie theater in Mid-City, the neighborhood adjacent to the Uptown Tulane area.

Before its opening, The Broad Theater building stood abandoned and rundown for years. It served many purposes, including warehouse and a boxing gym. The building has since been restored and equipped with movie screens and seating.

Freshman Sarah Medina said that the industrial style theater felt “big and small at the same time.”

The high ceilings and open rooms are decorated with light fixtures and chandeliers, art from local New Orleans artists and exposed beams. Instead of a typical concession stand, The Broad Theater has a bar that offers a changing menu and a selection of domestic and imported drinks.

The movie screen rooms are smaller than those of a typical chain movie theater, providing an intimate and nostalgic atmosphere.

“The Broad Theater feels very chill,” Duncan Wielgos, a freshman and New Orleans Film Society member, said. “It just feels a lot more modern than other theaters I’ve been to.”

As an art house theater, The Broad Theater shows indie and experimental films in addition to mainstream titles. The theater also shows local talent and documentaries. One of the current showings, “I Am Not Your Negro,” the documentary about James Baldwin, only played on 43 screens across the country during its opening weekend. Broad Theater Manager and Head of Marketing Michael Domangue sees many benefits of providing a venue for smaller films to play.

“From what we’ve heard, we might have been one of the only theaters in Louisiana playing that film,” Domangue said. “By having a focus on playing a mix of independent films as well as mainstream, we can go after these titles that have been underloved.”

The Broad Theater is currently showing “Hidden Figures,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “Fifty Shades Darker.” Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the theater before the showing. Adult tickets cost $10, and matinee showtimes, children and veteran tickets cost eight dollars. The theater is open Monday through Wednesday from about 2 p.m. to midnight and Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight.

“The theater is going to be a year old on March 5 of this year,” Domangue said. “We’re going to continue to launch new ideas and new initiatives to make sure that we serve as many people in the community as we can.”

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