Cinema opens doors
- Holly M. Gill
- Madras Pioneer - Features
Theater-goers line up early June 3
The excitement was palpable as theater-goers lined up to be among the first to experience the new Madras Cinema 5, which opened its doors June 3.
"I thought it would be cool because we won't have to drive all the way to Bend or Redmond from Warm Springs," said 10-year-old Catherine Payenna, who was the first to buy tickets with her father, Frank Brunoe, both of Warm Springs.
Brunoe, a movie buff, said they had arrived at 5 p.m., but doors didn't open until 6:15 p.m. He expects to be a regular patron, since it's "a little bit less expensive, and not as far."
"What a nice shared memory that will be for them in years to come," said Lee Goodrich, who co-owns the Jefferson Square development with her husband Scott. "I think she was equally excited about the movie and the date with her daddy."
Patrons of the cinema had the choice of five new movies, all of which started at 7 p.m. for the first night. A total of 300 attended the first showings, but by the end of the weekend, that number had increased to 1,300, according to Linda Benjamin, special events coordinator, who said that it was a "very good turnout, especially considering how nice the weather was."
Goodrich said there was "quite a parking crunch," the first night, and asked people to be patient as more paved parking is added over the next couple of weeks. By Saturday, the freshly paved lot was striped.
"Plus, the unpaved areas will be cleared, leveled, and made available for parking, also," she said.
The five-auditorium, 425-seat cinema, owned by Chuck Nakvasil, of Portland, is located on a 3.88-acre parcel on U.S. Highway 97, just north of Bard Lane.
Nakvasil, who was on hand for the opening, was pleased to see the warm reception to the facility.
"I think the theater brings an entertainment aspect to the community that wasn't here before," he said. "It can serve as a hub in which other businesses can spin off."
"The city government has been wonderful to work with," he added.
The $3.5 million cinema is the centerpiece for Jefferson Square, which includes the KFC-A&W, and plans for other businesses on the property. The Goodriches have been working on a contract for a business on the southwest side, but are not yet ready to reveal its name.
"I want this theater to be successful," said Nakvasil. "This is personal for me; I enjoy this community."
Benjamin is putting together partnerships with other local businesses to offer reduced ticket prices. For example, Erickson's Thriftway will be offering $5 cinema passes for every $25 spent at the grocery store.
Classic movies, Xbox parties and "Sensory Saturdays" (see story on page 6) are also planned.
"I have outstanding people working for me," said Nakvasil, who owns seven theaters. "Linda Benjamin has been wonderful for our theaters, and has done a great job getting us set up and prepared here in Madras."
"We plan to be a great community partner, work with the schools, charity events," he said. "We're open for ideas."
For more information, visit the theater's website, madrascinema5.com; check out its Facebook page; or call 541-475-3505.