Rose Theatre owner Rocky Friedman was gratified to hear that the movie theater he’d been running for the past 27 years was voted the Best Indie Theater in the 2019 Best of Western Washington …
Rose Theatre owner Rocky Friedman was gratified to hear that the movie theater he’d been running for the past 27 years was voted the Best Indie Theater in the 2019 Best of Western Washington viewers choice poll conducted by KING-5 News, but he was too modest to treat it as an objective measurement of quality.
“I’ve been to all but one of the other theaters that were nominated,” said Friedman, who noted that the Rose was up against Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle, the Grand Cinema and Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma, and the Edmonds Theater. “They’re all great theaters, and they each have their own loyal fans.”
If so, how does Friedman account for the Rose’s win?
“I don’t even know who nominated us,” Friedman said. “But once we heard that we’d been nominated, my daughter Renata, who handles the Rose’s social media accounts, was tireless in promoting the contest to our fans, and asking them to get out the vote. We weren’t judged based on any sort of formal evaluation of our business. It was all based on the fans’ votes, and our fans really came through for us.”
Friedman expressed his appreciation to the Rose’s fans for their kindness and devotion, even as he offered compliments to his competitors in the poll, but he hopes to use this plaudit as leverage on behalf of movie theaters as a whole.
Friedman noted that the Rose Theatre is one of the relatively few movie theaters to screen Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” produced by Netflix, which ran at the Rose from Nov. 23-27 before it started streaming on Netflix Nov. 27.
Friedman added that the Rose will likewise be screening another Netflix-produced movie, “Marriage Story,” starting Nov. 29, and also playing for a limited run of only one week.
“I loved it when I saw it,” Friedman said of “Marriage Story,” which stars Scarlet Johansson and Adam Driver. “It was wonderfully well-acted.”
Friedman pointed out that Netflix has refused to screen its films in larger theater chains, which were willing to limit their exclusive screening window for “The Irishman” to as few as 60 days, but Netflix was not willing to allow them any more than 45 days before streaming the film.
“Netflix didn’t see it as being in its primary interest to negotiate with them any further, because Netflix’s primary interest is selling more subscriptions,” Friedman said. “But when one of the theaters that is screening its films can say, ‘Hey, we won this viewers choice poll for Best Indie Theater in Western Washington,’ that might make the case to extend our exclusive window to longer than just a week. There’s a spoonful of irony in the independent theaters potentially having more influence than the big movie chains in persuading the streaming giants.”