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Cathedral City extends permit for Mary Pickford’s drive-in theater as business faces permanent closure

Cathedral City council members unanimously voted to extend the special permit allowing Mary Pickford is D’Place to continue to operate its drive-in movie theater through at least May 31.

The theater's drive-in experience opened back in October and according to city documents, it has yielded an operating loss for two of its four months. The Mary Pickford reported a $100,390 operating loss for its drive-in theater, as of Jan. 31.

The theater experienced a 98.6% decrease in daily films shown compared to non-pandemic years. Theater management cites the valley's outdoor brightness levels as a reason they aren't able to screen more movies throughout the day.

City documents show that the theater continues to operate its drive-in experience as an effort to keep staff employed, give families an escape from the pandemic, and recuperate some of its $93,069 startup investment for the drive-in.

However, the mounting losses not just in its drive-in experience, but also the lack of income over the past year due to the pandemic, means that Mary Pickford's management is contemplating a permanent closure, according to city documents.

In an effort to help maintain the businesses long enough for a reopening, the city council also approved Mary Pickford management's request for forgiveness of past and future site rent.

The amount due that was forgiven ended totaling $2,714.19, city documents show. This accounts for the rent due in Dec 2020 ($1,758) and Jan 2021 ($955).

Theater management remains hopeful that there could be a possible reopening in the next month as the county's coronavirus numbers continue to trend towards the red tier. Should the theater be allowed to reopen, management remain committed to keeping the drive-in for those who wish to continue to keep social distancing.

Tickets are available through the Mary Pickford Theatre online box office at

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Jesus Reyes


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