Almost all of Epic Theatres’ dozen cinema complexes around the state — including the Epic Theatres West Volusia in Deltona — have recovered to at least some extent from extended closures during the COVID pandemic. But one complex, the Victoria Square 6 at the south end of the shopping plaza of the same name in DeLand, remains closed.
And it may remain so, said Clint DeMarsh, a vice president of Epic, who noted the movie industry was radically altered by the pandemic. Nowadays, movies either go directly to streaming or are available to movie houses for a shorter time before streaming, he said.
“We were hoping we would reopen, but products [movies] aren’t available,” DeMarsh said. “We’re still thinking about it, and we’re not saying never, but for now, we’ll have to leave it at that.”
DeMarsh said it has been a tough two years for Epic and the industry as a whole. For much of the time at first, movie houses were forced to close completely.
Epic’s recovery started when it began showing movies outdoors at its complex off North Normandy Boulevard in Deltona and letting patrons watch them from their cars in the parking lot, drive-in-style. Patrons were allowed to start coming inside for movie-viewing about eight months ago, DeMarsh said.
“Thankfully, products are starting to flow again, and we’re on the road to recovery,” he said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re on the road. There’s lots of good stuff coming out this summer, so we could be all right. We’ll see.”
The pandemic forced Epic Theatres to furlough almost all its staff, but rehirings and new hires were brought on once the complexes reopened, DeMarsh said.
“Now we have almost a full slate of employees — almost as much as before the pandemic,” he said.
Epic Theatres has 12 cinema complexes — all but one in Florida — in its inventory, with a total of 144 screens. In addition to the Victoria Square 6 and the 12-screen complex in Deltona, there are Epic Theatres in Mount Dora, Clermont, Ocala, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Coast, Orlando, Titusville and Stuart. The out-of-state complex is in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Many of the complexes have one or two Epic XL large-format screens, according to the company’s website.
“EPIC XL brand premium auditoriums are built from the ground up to offer the finest in breathtaking size and earth-shaking sound. EPIC XL screens are a minimum of 65’ wide,” the website proudly proclaims. “What’s even better is that most Epic Theatres with EPIC XL feature more than one EPIC XL auditorium so you can experience multiple blockbusters each week in the format you’ll demand — EPIC XL”
Moviegoers can check out the company’s website, www.epictheatres.com, to get a list of what’s showing and when, the phone number for the Movie Line at that theater, directions to the complex, and a list of amenities available for each showing.