Christmastime means movietime for a lot of people.
It’s during this time of year that Hollywood debuts some of the biggest movies of the year, and with a little extra time on their hands and chilly weather outdoors, more people often flock to the theater for a flick.
This winter season, Cass County residents have an extra treat awaiting them at Belton Cinema 8 -- one that’s worth more than a million dollars.
A major remodel was completed at the theater last spring, and General Manager Willie Walker, 44, is hoping Cass County patrons who have not yet seen the changes will stop by over the holidays.
“We pretty much started at the front door and worked our way through the theater,” Walker said.
While the remodel included all the bells and whistles of a big city theater, Walker said that the theater has actually dropped their ticket prices by $.75 and $2, depending on the ticket choice.
The Mitchell Theatre group purchased the Belton Cinema 8 in August 2011, their first in Missouri. The family-owned company operates 81 screens with other locations in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico.
“Even with all the money we put in here, we still came in and lowered the ticket prices,” Walker said. “We like to have that small-town atmosphere. With this business model, we have applied it at every single theater we have taken over and it’s worked. I firmly believe in my heart, that if I can get (people) in the doors, I can sell them on Mitchell Theatres. They just have to come in and see.” ”
Concession prices were also lowered.
“I tell somebody in a heartbeat, if you can find a cheaper ticket price bring it to me and I’ll buy it,” Walker said. “Nobody has brought me one yet. We offer big town amenities at a small-town price.”
Walker was the very first Mitchell employee in Guymon, Okla., but recently moved to Belton last year to take over management of the newly-acquired cinema from Dickinson Theatres.
As part of the remodel, workers began removing the old 35-millimeter projectors as well as screens from each of the auditoriums last year. The projectors were replaced with 100 percent digital projection with four 3-D capable projectors and all the auditoriums were upgraded with the latest in Digital Surround sound.
Classic movie-themed carpet, new tile, neon lights, hearing-impaired devices and flat-screen TVs showing previews of coming attractions were among the improvements made over several months.
The old sloped floors inside the auditoriums were also replaced with stadium seating, 55-inch row spacing and high-back rocker seats.
“That’s our thing...the comfortable seating,” Walker said. “And as technology grows, we’ll keep up with it.”
With the recent release of “Breaking Dawn: Part Two” in the Twilight saga, and the upcoming release of “The Hobbit,” Walker said business is expected to be good.
“Last Saturday we broke our all-time record,” Walker said. “Thanksgiving is always a huge holiday for us, and it proved to be true this year.”
General admission tickets for shows after 6 p.m. are $7.75. Matinee, senior, and child’s admission, $5.75.