In April of 2018, Holly and Bradley Crane opened Joplin’s only independent movie theater. The property was founded on Historic Route 66 in East Town and the couple could not turn their heads away from the opportunity.

“The space allows for us to screen the best films that don’t always make it to larger chain cinemas and also to furnish a public space for the community,” said Bradley Crane.

Because this company is family owned, Crane has complete control over what is shown and served.

The Cinema is not only a place for moviegoers to attend screenings of popular films. The lounge area is meant for people to hang out before the movie to talk or grab a bite to eat in their restaurant.

“The restaurant’s equipment and capabilities enable us to serve alcohol and drinks that can be carried into the theater with a snack or a meal. We have a mission to make a safe, comfortable, and welcoming space for everyone, which reveals itself in some of the dining and drinking choices. We have the broadest selection of vegan and vegetarian items and we’re sensitive to dietary needs like Alpha-Gal, Celiac, and Keto,” said Crane.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Bookhouse, other than the movies and food. There is also a local art exhibit within the walls of the Cinema. There is space in the building reserved for paintings and ceramics.

“We have nationally renowned painters, sculptors, and musicians who live right here in Joplin who are always looking for a place to showcase their art,” said Crane. 

The space is an opportunity to showcase local events. For example, this Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. the Bookhouse will host an event called JulieFest, Joplin’s first “feminist-built outdoor festival.” Six bands from all over the four states will perform in downtown Joplin for a fundraiser.

Bookhouse Cinema is unlike most theaters, besides the fact that they are not only a movie theater. They also screen films that are not in the mainstream, but rather more artistic in style.

“A lot of people seem to think we’re a second run theater or we only show classics and documentaries and that’s just not true.  We screened 19 nominees and most of the winners of the most recent Oscars.  Great films aren’t always the ones that get the most attention from the regional media or from the loudest critics,” said Crane, “…We don’t look for titles with the greatest number of explosions, sex scenes, or violence. We look for stories and good storytelling.”

Last spring, the Missouri Southern international studies department came to Bookhouse to collaborate with movie events. This created a new bond between the two and sparked a film series called “On the Road” where Bookhouse screened multiple films for the international semester.

“During our collaborative film series, an illumined speaker gives a brief presentation about a film and then we show it. Southern has been kind enough to use funds to enable free viewings to all of those film’s attendees, which is awesome,” said Crane. “Besides hosting about half of those screenings, Bookhouse is able to secure screening rights and permissions from the distribution company that holds the film. The films selected for the Oceania Film Series essentially worked the same way as the ‘On The Road’ series.”

This past week, Bookhouse screened ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ as part of Southern’s Oceania semester. This film is from ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ director, Taika Waititi, and stars Sam Neill and Julian Dennison.

“I would encourage everyone to see all of the Oceania Series films. Admission is free. If the screening is at Bookhouse you can have a sandwich and a beer while you enjoy it, and you get insight from a university professor into aspects of the film you might not otherwise have been privy to. It’s a great collaboration for us overall,” said Crane.

Bookhouse Cinema is located at 715 E Broadway St. They are closed Monday and Tuesday but are open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. On Sunday, Bookhouse is open 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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