Theater in Villa Grove to reopen in 2013

Theater in Villa Grove to reopen in 2013

VILLA GROVE — Reggie Phillips is hoping moviegoers will soon be filling theater seats again.

The new owner, who also owns Unique Homes in Charleston, has been doing repairs and renovations to the former Gemini theater building in hopes of reopening the duplex cinema in early 2013.

Repairs to the roof, climate control system and interior damage is under way, and Philips says he is also working with the city government to secure some funding from the tax increment financing district for the project. The theater has been closed since the summer of 2011.

"We're trying to get it up and operational, so we can start showing films as soon as possible," said Philips, who acquired the building from former owner Mark McSparin, also from Charleston. McSparin ran the theater from 1994 to 2008 and will once again manage the operation of the Twin Cinemas. He plans to operate the theater as it was before, with generally new releases and mostly family-oriented films. Discounted movie prices will be around $6 to $7 for adults and a dollar less for children.

"Concessions will be about half of the movie-chain prices," said McSparin, who also operates a small theater in Ottawa. "I think the price point is affordable and draws people in."

While both men are concerned about the future demand for digital projection equipment which is threatening small theater operations around the country, they plan to continue to use the current projection equipment until a solution is worked out. McSparin, who has been in the theater business for 23 years, said he believes the industry is still a few years away from making a decision on the digital projection standard.

In the meantime, the men are hoping to regain customers and rebuild a successful business to support any future needs for the theater. "People need to come in and give us a chance and see the movies," McSparin said.

Topics (1):Film
Tags (1):theater

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increvable wrote on December 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

Hey, best of luck, gentlemen, but you're going to be in trouble if you don't convert to digital projection in 2013.

Twentieth Century Fox has become the first major Hollywood studio to officially notify theater owners that it will distribute all of its films domestically in a digital format within the next year or two, bringing an end to 35mm film prints. National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian... revealed that Fox sent a letter to exhibitors in late 2011. Overseas, Fox already has ceased distributing 35mm prints in Hong Kong, effective Jan. 1. "Last year, I stood on this stage and predicted that domestic distribution of movies in the format of celluloid film could cease by the end of 2013. That prediction is becoming a reality," Fithian said. "As a letter from our friends at Fox confirms, no one should rely on the distribution of film prints much longer. And we know that most other distributors share that belief," he added.