Next week, the local movie theater will celebrate 10 years of existence, and throughout the month, the theater will provide specials to their customers to celebrate and thank them for their support.
Fort Cinema owner Amanda Hale said it’s hard to believe the theater has been open that long, while at other times it feels longer as she and her husband handle the theater after they made the decision in the early 2000s to start their own business.
After making that decision, they came to the conclusion that a movie theater was a need in the community, since the nearest ones were in Pittsburg or Kansas City.
“Every town does need a movie theater,” Hale said, saying they thought Fort Scott especially could benefit from one since the local bowling alley and other areas of activity were no longer open or were in disrepair.
Over four years after reaching that conclusion, the Hales prepared for their endeavor by forming a business plan, doing feasibility studies, considering the area demographics, selecting a property and speaking with bankers for financial support. But few thought they could successfully open a theater while others were unable to support the business.
But finally, with the support of a federal grant, property given to them and a parking lot constructed by the city, the Hales moved forward with their plans to replace the two-screen, Liberty box theater that had closed in the 1990s and was in very poor condition.
Since the opening of the theater on Feb. 17, 2006, it has provided stadium seating for each of their three screens and other amenities that Hale said are often not even available at larger theaters. Other upgrades in recent years have added the technology needed to provide 3D viewings with the new digital films.
With only three screens, Hale said they have to carefully schedule what movies they show, trying to show the most popular movies as well as always keeping family-friendly movies showing. When they face a difficult choice in selecting which movies to show, Hale said they take polls on their Facebook page to see which movies Fort Scott residents would be most interested in.
While some movie studios require certain movies be shown for at least two to four weeks, others are shown only on limited screens across the United States, such as certain Christian films Hale tries to get for Fort Scott, including the movie “Risen” releasing Feb. 19.
“When people tell us they appreciate us, than that makes it all worthwhile,” Hale said of their theater, which she referred to as a busy undertaking.
During the month of February, the theater will offer specials to those who come to Fort Cinema, such as offering $1 nachos and $2 pretzels this week. Details on show times and special offers can be found at their Facebook page and their website, www.FortCinema.com.