New own­er­ship takes over West Cinema

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - SJ Edi­tor Mike Tin­ney took over West Cinema at the end of Oc­to­ber.

Cedar­town’s movie house has been around for decades, and will con­tinue on for years to come as movie lovers of all ages fill the seats on evenings in the dark, im­mersed in the imag­i­na­tion of film­mak­ers.

Not much has changed since it first opened in the 1940s — though the lay­out is dif­fer­ent in the theater it­self — and the fam­ily-owned busi­ness has kept what im­prove­ments they have done to en­sur­ing the long­time busi­ness thrives.

That tra­di­tion has been handed on to new hands as West Cinema is now un­der new own­er­ship, and that isn’t the only change ahead for the his­toric Cedar­town land­mark, though they’ll be mi­nor for now.

Mike Tin­ney, who of­fi­cially took own­er­ship at the end of Oc­to­ber, said that his love of busi­ness and the build­ing pro­vided him with a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to buy out the An­drews fam­ily.

“I see a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity there for the busi­ness to grow and pros­per,” he said. “I see a land­mark in Cedar­town, and I see how I can im­prove it and make it bet­ter.”

He added that “it is more about love of the com­mu­nity than it is just a busi­ness.”

Tin­ney said he plans to con­tinue to keep the movies he runs at the theater fam­ily-ori­ented, but that ac­tion movies and war movies he feels are ap­pro­pri­ate for older au­di­ences are likely go­ing to be added to the fea­tures the theater will screen in the fu­ture.

“I’m go­ing to try to stay away from movies with ex­tremely strong lan­guage,” he said.

Tin­ney said that ad­just­ments to the sched­ule are also com­ing up. He plans to start run­ning fea­ture films on Thurs­day through Sun­day nights, with a Sun­day mati­nee and a Tues­day Fam­ily Night.

How­ever, Mon­day nights at West Theater are likely go­ing to come to a close, since Tin­ney said based on the sales fig­ures he’s seen in the past, it isn’t a great night for movies.

His plans for Tues­day’s to be­come Fam­ily Night is on­go­ing, and his hopes are to keep prices at $2 for tick­ets to help al­low for those who usu­ally can’t make it to the movies.

“I’m keep­ing prices low and want to show whole­some movies that the whole fam­ily can en­joy,” he said. “I want it to be some­thing that can be af­ford­able to every­one in the com­mu­nity.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, he plans some mi­nor ren­o­va­tions — re­mov­ing the cur­tains on the wall and re­plac­ing them with sheetrock and paint. Plans also in­clude pro­vid­ing some more mod­ern touches for movie go­ers to en­joy, and maybe in the long term re­fin­ish bal­cony spa­ces for the two­screened the­aters for pri­vate par­ties.

Tin­ney is also look­ing into pro­vid­ing the space for rent­ing for large cor­po­rate events, and host­ing live sports within the theater as well.

He also wants to of­fer ad­di­tional items for con­ces­sions like cof­fee, hot dogs and na­chos, but said those plans will re­quire more re­search about health codes be­fore he moves for­ward.

“I want to do a lot, but I’m also keep­ing in mind the his­toric value of the theater,” Tin­ney said. “I’m open to a lot of ideas, so long as it doesn’t have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the com­mu­nity.”

For­mer own­ers Ken and Teresa Brown­ing had pre­vi­ously fin­ished a num­ber of ren­o­va­tions on West Cinema over the years, in­clud­ing clos­ing off the bal­cony and switch­ing to two screens in the 1980s, and in 2013 re­paint­ing the ex­te­rior of the build­ing.

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