Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friday night at the Bijou

Our little town isn't so little anymore. When the 2010 census figures are released, I fully expect that Conway will have more than 75,000 residents. And the college population is more than 15,000.

But for as long as we've lived here, we've had two movie houses, both the kind of strip-mall multiplexes that were long since run out of business in major cities. The Carmike 6 switched to digital projection a couple of years ago, and leapfrogged from worst to first in moviegoing quality. The Cinemark 6 has bigger houses, but in the last few years has lagged behind in technology.

As of January, though, we're down to one cinema option. The Cinemark closed for eight months, with the aim of gutting the place and rebuilding as a state-of-the-art multiplex. The idea is to make it an anchor for an edge-of-town shopping center that has steadily emptied over the past decade and is barely hanging on with temporary outlet sales that swoop in and out.

What I'm wondering is what took developers so long? There are thousands of college students here. A good movie house is a can't-miss proposition in this town. Being able to see 3-D movies without driving an hour round-trip into Little Rock? I'm there. Despite the fact that we're movie people, we see very few movies in the theater -- maybe one or two a month. Put a real theater in this town, and you double that from my family, or more. You'd let me see what right now I can't see -- the 3-D, the stuff that doesn't open here currently because of limited screen space.

It's going to be fall or winter before we get the grand reopening. That's a long summer with only six tiny screens in town. But I hope it will all be worth it when we enter the new Cinemark, and maybe even more so when pressure is put on the Carmike to upgrade as well.

1 comment:

Ali said...

The last movie I saw in the theater was Horton Hears a Who--with Jude squirming in his seat and K. squirming in my belly. She'll be two soon. Maybe this new theater in town will inspire me to want to go to movies more. Of course, having such wonderful friends with good DVD collections keeps us away from the theater, too.