ITHACA, N.Y.—Cinemapolis usually deals in more independent, perhaps artsy fare, but in two weeks the downtown theater will host a slightly different offering for the first time. When Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, debuts at the theater on May 4, it will be the first time a Marvel movie will be shown at Cinemapolis.

Despite the fact that Cinemapolis has never before shown Marvel movies, the franchise has amassed unprecedented popularity over the last 15 years or so. In that time, 31 movies have been released and generated billions of dollars.

“We remain committed to providing a home for films that moviegoers aren’t able to see anywhere else,” said Cinemapolis Executive Director Kate Donohue in a press release. “Cinemapolis has always offered a wide variety of films including blockbusters. We realize that Marvel movies and other family franchise movies bring fun and joy to a lot of people. We’re happy to offer that experience, while continuing to feature local, international, and independent films.” 

Donohue wanted to emphasize that the introduction of a Marvel movie will not change the theater’s other offerings or overall mission as a place that brings movies to Ithaca that could be difficult to see elsewhere nearby. The theater won’t raise prices for Guardians, sticking at $10 for adult tickets to matinees and $11 for evening. Board of Directors member Kofi Acree added his support for the move, hoping it will draw new people to Cinemapolis for the first time so they can discover other films.

This could signal a generally more open approach from Cinemapolis on larger, superhero franchise movies. Donohue said she expects to show Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse when it releases this June as an expected summer blockbuster. There’s a bit of a tightrope walk between welcoming new customers while not squeezing out those who like Cinemapolis’ more traditional offerings, but Donohue said that’s a symptom of the film and theater industry right now.

“There aren’t neat divisions between styles of movies these days. Part of our job as a media arts organization is to continue to evolve,” Donohue said.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief at The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.org.