KINGMAN, Kansas – Hundreds of movie-goers celebrated the re-opening of their local theater Friday night.
Opened in 1920, the Kingman Historic Theatre is now state-of-the-art, with a brand new digital projection system and a new shine to the art deco auditorium.
Just nine months after the theater faced an uncertain future in closing its doors, the community rallied around the theatre, and now it’s back open, better than ever.
“It’s good for the kids and the adults to have another place to enjoy entertainment and a family atmosphere,” Frank Miller, a moviegoer from Kingman, said as he waited in line to get into the theater.
The popcorn’s popping again, almost a year after ending its run with a screening of Wolverine, the X-Men graced the screen yet again, much to the delight of moviegoers.
The biggest question small-town theaters like Kingman faced was the cost of upgrading to digital projection–which cost around $75,000.
That cost condemned theaters in Pratt, Medicine Lodge and Anthony to closure.
Instead, theater ownership transferred to a nonprofit group. That allowed them to raise funds quickly by selling tax credits to the tune of $214,000. They also raised $60,000 in private donations.
“We’re probably the only thing in this area west of Wichita which actually has a place where people can get the same movie experience they can get in Wichita for about half the price,” Michael Miller, president of the Kingman Historic Theatre advisory board, said.
A Hollywood native, Miller says he’s happy to be able to bring a taste of Tinseltown back to Kingman.
“To be able to see things like that around here, I like it,” Michael Miller said. “It’s really exciting that we could get a little of that Hollywood feel around here.”
Now that the theater is back open, it will resume its normal operating schedule, showing first-run movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.