Few knew what lay inside the shuttered Oak Bluffs Strand Theatre in the summer of 2014. Tourists rumored T-shirt storage. Others suspected moped rentals. Mark Snider saw something different.

The Martha’s Vineyard Theatre Foundation president envisioned a 21st century, state-of-the art movie theatre, not the crumbling building across the street from The Flying Horses. His vision met reality on June 20, 2015 at the grand reopening of the Strand Theare. A few weeks earlier, the renovated Capawock Theatre also had its reopening party.

Earlier this spring both theatres opened their doors for a second season under the stewardship of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society. The society hopes to build off last summer’s success which saw nearly 25,000 people attend screenings at both theatres.

Chris Mara keeps things running smoothly at the Strand Theatre. — Mark Lovewell

So far, so good.

“The numbers have definitely gone up from last year,” said Chris Mara, technical manager at the Strand Theatre. “Word is getting out, it’s building. All the tourists want to go here with their kids.”

Mr. Mara praised the foundation’s renovation efforts, in particular the switch to digital video and sound. Because of the theatres can now receive Hollywood movies during the opening weekend instead of waiting two to four weeks after their release.

Installed central air units, refurbished interior decor and a multi-dimensional theatre screen and stage offer more than movies to the Vineyard community. There are plans underway to host music and other shows in the off-season too. The retractable screens even make town meetings a possibility.

“Movie theatres are an iconic attraction for people coming to vacation on the Island,” said Richard Paradise, founder and executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society. “It’s been enthusiastically received by year-round residents and summer residents.”

Mr. Paradise founded the nonprofit film society 15 years ago, last year partnering with Mr. Snider’s theatre foundation to renovate and operate the Capawock and Strand theatres.

Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven is once again an essential component of Main street life. — Mark Lovewell

“Our purpose is to preserve, protect and to make relevant buildings that have been iconic features of the community,” said Mr. Snider, who also owns the Winnetu Oceanside Resort. “When you see a theatre filled with people laughing together, crying together, having fun together, they become communal Martha’s Vineyard experiences.”

Mr. Snider spent his summers growing up on Martha’s Vineyard and understands the importance of having functioning movie theatres in downtown Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, he said. He negotiated a 10-year lease with the Hall family, which owns the buildings, in the winter of 2015.

“You have to make a decision to go out on the town and go with some friends, and having fun out in town is partly what makes the town so special,” he said. Mr. Snider believes the big screen offers an overwhelming experience that separates the theatres from any other at-home experience.

“Yes, you can watch things on Netflix, but I think that’s a different experience,” he said.

Mark Snider, founder of the Martha's Vineyard Theatre Foundation. — Mark Lovewell

The Strand stayed open for six months last year, closing its doors in the middle of October. The Capawock stayed open until the middle of January. Poor insulation and the small population in the off-season remain tough hurdles in keeping the theatres open during later winter months.

Both the theatre foundation and film society have new initiatives planned for this year’s summer season according to Mr. Snider. The Winnetu asks their guests for $25 contributions to benefit the foundation and its continual maintenance of the buildings.

Gaming events at the Capawock attracted younger high school students in late June as they competed against one another on the big screen. All proceeds from concessions, tickets and grants fund the film society and theatre foundation’s operating budgets.

Despite the renovations, Mr. Snider wanted the theatres to maintain their historic charm.

“They are historic looking, but we’ve made them all 21st-century comfortable,” he said. “These buildings represent a great chunk of history and we want them to be relevant, alive and fun for people today.”