Theaters Gear Up for Battle

By Currin, Darren | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 1, 1998 | Go to article overview

Theaters Gear Up for Battle


Currin, Darren, THE JOURNAL RECORD


What a great time it is to be a motion picture connoisseur in Oklahoma City, with the heightened anticipation of several state-of- the-art theaters under way.

Currently, there are three theaters under construction, one completed in Norman and two others in the planning stages. Each will feature stadium-style seating with digital sound.

However, with this barrage of new construction commencing, what is going to happen to the existing theaters? Get ready for what could be called "theater wars" with some of them girding for battle.

Hollywood Theaters at Crossroads Mall is the first to prepare, with it's parent company's purchase of a 1.99-acre tract adjacent to the theater for $367,555 from Oble. Louis Almaraz of Harrison Levy Co. handled the sale.

According to James Henson, theater manager, the eight-screen movie theater is planning to begin a major remodeling project within the next four weeks. "We are going to add five screens to our existing eight screens and add stadium-style seating to every house," he said.

With a total of 13 rooms, Henson stated as many of six of the houses will feature digital sound. The design of the new theater rooms will be almost identical to the Hollywood Spotlight 14 that opened in Norman late last year. Additionally, the existing lobby will be converted into a theater, resulting in construction of a new lobby.

Henson anticipates renovations to be completed by Memorial Day of next year, just in time for the release of the first, much anticipated Star Wars prequel.

"This project will bring my theater more up-to-date with modern facilities," said Henson. "This will also allow me to compete with the Regal Cinema's theater being constructed just south of the mall."

MaceRich is developing the 65,000-square-foot Regal Cinema just west of Hollywood Theaters. The company, which acquired the 21.5-acre tract in February 1997 for $3 million, also is planning to construct retail shops to compliment the new theater.

Henson said Hollywood Theaters is in the process of selecting a contractor for the project. Company officials were unavailable for comment regarding construction costs. …

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