UPDATED 4/17/20


The recent Safer at Home extension until May 26 extends our closure of the Oriental Theatre. We remain in contact with local authorities and will update as new information becomes available!

(3/13/20): TICKET REFUNDS: Refunds for previously purchased tickets to any screenings from March 14 through April 9 will be processed by the end of the day on Monday, March 16.

We believe people need art. We believe people need community. That’s why Milwaukee Film exists.

Following confirmation from state health officials that the novel coronavirus is in our community, we have made the extremely difficult decision to close the Oriental Theatre to public events starting Saturday, March 14, through Thursday, April 9.

As much as people need art and community, the well-being of our patrons and staff are of paramount importance during this unprecedented situation. For the coming weeks, it is readily apparent that we serve the community more by being closed in the interest of their health and safety.

In uncertain times, we can say one thing for certain: We will reopen the Oriental Theatre. Our community is strong, our organization is strong, and art goes on. We won’t stop being a part of what makes Milwaukee such an amazing place to live.

We’ll miss you for the next few weeks, and we’ll keep you in our hearts as we all move forward.



(3/12/20): Like you, we’re keeping a close eye on the quickly changing landscape of how to best prioritize health and safety, both for ourselves and for our community. In addition to what we outlined yesterday, we’re taking a few more steps to serve both our mission and our community:


  • Starting this weekend, we are capping capacity of our screenings at 33% through the end of April. This will help give all our filmgoers some extra space at the cinema. If you are going to see a film at the Oriental Theatre, please leave some room around other patrons when you choose your seat. Note that in the main house, the balcony will be closed for most screenings.


  • Our upcoming “rowdy” screenings of Cats will be moved from Friday-Saturday, March 20-21, to Friday-Saturday, Aug. 21-22. If you’ve purchased tickets already, those tickets will be honored on the corresponding night in August. Should you need to request a refund, please do so by Thursday, March 19; email your name and order number to orientaltheatre@mkefilm.org.


  • The March Members-only screening will be moved to Wednesday, Aug. 5. Our Members will get a second free screening in August. We’ll alert our Members to any decisions about the April Members-only screening as things develop.


We’ll keep watching for decisions from local and national leaders, we’ll keep you updated – and we’ll keep washing our hands. Once again, we greatly appreciate your patience, your passion for our mission, and your ongoing support.



Milwaukee Film believes in the power of film to bring people together, and that experiencing film together is a vital way to strengthen our community.

Right now, global concerns are increasing about the highly contagious virus that causes COVID-19 and its potential impact on everyday things in our community, including going to see movies.

At this time, Milwaukee Film is closely monitoring recommendations from local, state, and national officials whose expertise in communicable diseases vastly outweighs what we learned in high school health class. We are open to taking whatever steps may become necessary as new developments and learnings evolve.

For now, here are a few changes we’re making – and requests we’re making of you:

  • CHOOSE TO STAY HOME: If you’re feeling ill, we encourage you to stay home until your symptoms improve – and put the safety of your neighbors ahead of your desire to see a film. 

  • TICKET REFUNDS: Through the end of April, we will be happy to process a ticket refund before the show if you have a known risk for having contracted COVID-19 or if you’re not feeling well. Please email your full name and order number to orientaltheatre@mkefilm.org prior to the screening, and we will be happy to assist you in securing a refund for your unused ticket. 

  • KEEP IT CLEAN: We have been increasing our frequency of cleaning our theater during open hours, including the box office, concessions stand, theater seats, and restrooms. Our evening custodial team will continue to use bleach solutions on areas frequently visited by customers. 

  • THE SOUND OF HAND WASHING: Our restrooms have plenty of soap for washing your hands, so use them! The 20-second rule on soap is about the same as singing four lines of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music, which we encourage. Hand sanitizer is also available at the theater for staff and customers. 

  • DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE: We know, the more we say it, the more you want to do it. 

  • SPACING IS KEY: If you are seeing a show that’s not very crowded, try to sit at least six feet away from other patrons. 

  • PATIENCE PLEASE: We’re all in this together, and we’re also encouraging our staff to take precautions. We strive to give you the very best service, but if things are taking a little extra time because a staff member stayed home or went to wash hands, we’d greatly appreciate your patience. 

We’re hopeful that none of us will experience issues with doing the things we love most, like seeing movies together. In the meantime, we appreciate your help in keeping everyone safe and healthy – and as always, we’re deeply grateful for your support of Milwaukee Film.


CDC guidance on preventing COVID-19 spread in communities
Wisconsin Health Department fact sheets
Milwaukee Health Department updates