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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Beaumont, TX: Rita-damaged theater undergoing renavations

Author Topic: Beaumont, TX: Rita-damaged theater undergoing renavations
Mark Richey

Posts: 90
From: Fort Worth, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted April 21, 2006 10:29 PM      Profile for Mark Richey   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Richey         Edit/Delete Post 
From the Beaumont Enterprise (it's about time! The place has been an eyesore)

Revising earlier estimates, Hollywood Theaters hopes to reopen its decimated Beaumont location later than previously expected, but in time for the summer blockbusters.

The venue's 12 screens have been dark since Sept. 21, 2005 - three days before Hurricane Rita's winds tore away at the façade and stucco. Subsequent flooding ruined draperies, carpets, wall coverings and seats.

For the past seven months the site, owned by the Portland, Ore.-based chain Wallace Theaters, has been undergoing renovations. Workers gutted the structure after Rita to prevent mold.

"This is a profitable location and very important to our company," Wallace spokeswoman Heather Wright said in an e-mail. "As such, we are looking at this not as a disaster but as an opportunity to upgrade the facility."

The refurbished complex will feature new seats, aisle lighting and concession stands. The box office will be completely rebuilt. Wright would not say how much the renovations will cost.

Though an exact date has not yet been set for the re-opening, Southeast Texas moviegoers are excited about the return of the theater adjacent to Parkdale Mall.

"It's really an inconvenience" not being able to go to the multiplex all these months, said Ronnie Nobles, a 41-year-old Triangle Air Care worker from Sour Lake.

Last weekend he took his family to see "The Benchwarmers" at Tinseltown Theaters on Interstate 10. "This one (Tinseltown) is way over on the other side of town. And there's always a lot of traffic and hardly any parking."

The 15-screen, 2,890- seat Tinseltown, owned by Plano-based Cinemark Theaters, reopened about two weeks after Rita, suffering little damage. Spokeswoman Terrell Falk did not disclose attendance or box office figures but said the 9-year-old venue has been drawing big crowds in the absence of Hollywood.

"We don't discuss business at individual theaters," she said in a telephone interview. "But we're well ahead of what we were last year."

Hollywood Theaters started out as the three-screen Parkdale Cinema in 1977. Then-owner General Cinema Corp. spent $2 million building it, and the first movies on the bill were "Pete's Dragon," "Joseph Andrews" and "Saturday Night Fever."

The facility was bought by Hollywood Theaters (now a subsidiary of Wallace Theaters) in 1996 and transformed into a 12-screen facility the following year.

The place seated about 1,800 total before it closed, but Wright said she does not know what the capacity will be in the renovated facility. The number of screens will remain the same. Ticket prices, which were about $7 regular admission and $5 for matinees before the hurricane, also have not yet been set. Prices at Tinseltown are about the same.

Jim Rich, president of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, said he hasn't kept up with the status of Hollywood, but is looking forward to the reopening.

"For a community to retain its young people, it has to have things for them to do," he said. "And on a rainy day when there's nothing to do at the house, people love to go to the movies."

Film buffs who typically would have patronized Hollywood said they have enjoyed Tinseltown, which features stadium seating. But like Nobles, they aren't keen on having to drive so far out of their way.

"I live close to Parkdale, and with the gas crunch now, it's hard to come out here," said Edgar Hinson, a 45-year-old teacher's aide from Beaumont, who was watching "Ice Age 2" at Tinseltown last weekend.

And even the regulars at Tinseltown are looking forward to the other theater reopening in the hopes it may alleviate the crowds a bit.

"When new movies come out, there's a big line to get in," said 12-year-old Gerardo Mata, a seventh-grader at Odom Academy, who was checking out "Scary Movie 4" last weekend.

"You get here a little late and tickets are running out."

(409) 880-0790

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Mark Richey

Posts: 90
From: Fort Worth, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted September 21, 2006 07:30 PM      Profile for Mark Richey   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Richey         Edit/Delete Post 
5 months after this article appeared, and a full year after the hurricane, the renovation of this theater is finally happening. There's been no further mention of the theater in the local press, so I'm not sure when they're aiming to reopen. I'm sure they'll try to get at least some of the holiday movie business.

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Mark Richey

Posts: 90
From: Fort Worth, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted December 18, 2006 01:48 PM      Profile for Mark Richey   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Richey         Edit/Delete Post 
Hollywood Theaters rolls out red carpet for reopening on Dec. 22

By ROBERT LOPEZ, The Enterprise

More than a year after Hurricane Rita ravaged Hollywood Theaters 12-screen multiplex outside Parkdale Mall, construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the facility, due to reopen Dec. 22 after months of delays.

The aroma of sawdust mixed with the faint scent of stale popcorn hangs in the air inside the theater. Boxes full of seats line the hallways. The buzzing of saws and the pounding of hammers resonate through the place.

The theater originally was scheduled to open in the spring. That was pushed back into summer, then November and finally to the current date.

Heather Wright, spokeswoman for the Portland Ore.-based Wallace Theaters (parent company of Hollywood), hasn't elaborated on the reasons for the setbacks, and has yet to discuss details for the grand reopening. In the past, she has said upgrades will include a refurbished lobby, concession stand sound system and new upholstery. The facility will seat about 1,750, roughly the same as before. The number of screens will remain unchanged.

"I think it's going to benefit us greatly," Kathy Chessher, Parkdale Mall marketing director, said. "Especially now during the holiday season, when it's a huge release time."

The theater's marquee was ripped apart by Rita. Subsequent flooding took a toll on the seats, carpets and wall coverings. Workers arrived soon after the storm to tear out the upholstery, but the theater sat dormant for almost a year, until September, when a work permit from the City of Beaumont was issued. Right now a chain-link fence surrounds the building and cranes and semi trucks roll through the parking lot. Monday afternoon, crews were installing new drywall and windows in the lobby.

The venue opened as the three-screen Parkdale Cinema in 1977 and expanded in 1996 when Hollywood Theaters purchased it.

Tinseltown Theaters - on the other side Beaumont near Walden Road - has reported a spike in business since the storm, though managers were not able to give exact figures.

Local moviegoers say they are excited about having a more centrally located cinema.

"Hollywood is in a little bit better spot," said 23-year-old Lamar University graduate Christopher Dombrosky, who recently directed the independent horror film "They Hunger." "And before Hurricane Rita, Hollywood was in need of some renovations anyway. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's been done."

Grand reopening movies include "Rocky Balboa," "A Night at the Museum" and "We Are Marshall."

More information contact Hollywood Theaters at (409) 898-4440 or visit online at
(409) 880-0790

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Mark Richey

Posts: 90
From: Fort Worth, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted December 21, 2006 05:19 AM      Profile for Mark Richey   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Richey         Edit/Delete Post 
From our local ABC affiliate, KBMT 12.

Theater Returns After Rita

A Beaumont theater that had its doors closed by hurricane Rita is about to reopen for business.

Workmen have been feverishly laboring to restore the Hollywood Theater Star 12 at Parkdale Mall.

Portland, Ore.-based Wallace theaters has had to reschedule the reopening date several times since the storm as various obstacles slowed repairs.

Wednesday, they allowed KBMT to bring cameras in to get a glimpse of the new interior.

The theater is set to reopen to the public tomorrow.

The link includes a link to the aired story, which goes into more detail about the reopening and includes footage from both the inside and outside of the reconstructed theater.

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