Community members who grumbled at the loss of the local movie theater and have been driving elsewhere for their entertainment can start saving their gas in mid-November.
As of this morning, Newton couple and former Capitol II Theater managers Dawn and Paul Bleeker purchased the iconic movie theater when Dawn drove to Missouri to sign paperwork from the former owners. Parent company Big Time Cinema filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of Missouri on Aug. 31, forcing the closure of the movie theater on Sept. 12.
“The owners had discussed with us for quite some time about the purchase of it, but we weren’t ready at that point. Then, one of the partners went bankrupt so they let go of all our Iowa theaters, and at that point they gave us the option of buying it,” Dawn said.
The Bleekers are hopeful of a Nov. 9 reopening, just in time for the latest James Bond installment, “Skyfall.”
That date isn’t set in stone, however, as obtaining film for movies on their opening day is proving a daunting task for the small theater.
“We’re running into a few glitches of getting 35mm film because we were kind of taken off the radar,” Dawn said in a phone conversation. “Eventually it’s going to be harder to get 35mm film for (current) movies. The sooner we switch over to digital the better selection of movies we’ll have.”
If the new owners aren’t able to receive film for the new James Bond movie, the opening date is targeted for just six days later — Nov. 15 — for the release of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2.”
For the most part, the Bleekers think they’ll keep the theater’s hours and operations similar to how everything was handled under the Big Time Cinema name. However, Dawn is glad to have more say in how the facility is run.
“I didn’t have a lot of control or anything just managing it; the owners ran everything, so we’ll be able to make the decisions and decide what movies we get. We didn’t have any control over that either,” she said. “Hopefully we’re more in touch with what the town is wanting now. Hopefully we have an upper hand that way to be more available to the community.”
But, Dawn said, the community will play a vital role in the coming months and years to keep the small-town theater in operation.
“I hope they (the community) come back to support us,” Bleeker said of reopening the theater. “We still need to get enough income to get digital, so hopefully they can support us by going to local shows ... so we can get enough revenue to do that switchover.”
Amy Martens can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 426 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.