Monday, Oct 20, 2014
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Beacon Theater eyes July 4 for debut of big screen format

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Published:   |   Updated: May 5, 2014 at 09:55 AM

—The opening of the Beacon Theater’s large-screen format auditorium is still about two months away.

That’s too late for the big-action, blockbuster summer movies like Spider-man 2 and the Godzilla remake. But it would be open in time for the new Transformers: Age of Extinction flick that is scheduled for release June 27, according to Beacon assistant manager Jeff Basciano, who couldn’t speculate if that would be the first movie to open on the big screen.

The Georgia Theatre Extreme (GTX) auditorium will be five stories with a wall-to-wall screen that is 80 feet wide and 40 feet tall. Patrons will be treated to Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, 3-D projection and luxury seating for 360 people.

Basciano said there are certain movies that meet the criteria for the large format and flicks such as Transformers, Star Trek or Avengers would fit the bill. Beacon Stadium Cinemas 10 is located in the Western Way Plaza, at State Road 50 and Mariner Boulevard.

“We’re shooting for a July 4 opening,” said Bo Chambliss, president of Georgia Theatre Company.

The new auditorium was originally slated to debut in April but changes in the building plans necessitated some permit tweaks, Chambliss said.

Meanwhile, theatergoers will notice part of the new lobby and concession area opened last week and the full lobby should be done in two or three weeks.

The parking lot has also been reconfigured to add more spaces.

Once completed, Chambliss said he hopes to draw not only from Hernando County but from the surrounding area including Citrus, Sumter and Pasco counties, If moviegoers want to see a big screen presentation, they currently must travel to the Tampa area.

Chambliss said he is pleased to see the commercial boom going on in the vicinity of the theater. Western Way Plaza has undergone renovations. Cortez Commons on the southwest corner of the SR 50 and Mariner Boulevard intersection is under construction and will be home to more than a dozen retailers.

The widening of SR 50 is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

“I think the whole area around us is building up and being re-developed,” Chambliss said. “It’s turning back into a main (commercial hub).”

The Beacon Theater should do well positioned in the middle of that activity, he said.

Pat Crowley, president of the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce, said she expects the established retail stores and restaurants near the theater will experience an increase in customers once the renovation is complete.

And people will be coming in from other counties as well to spend their money, Crowley said.

Georgia Theatre Company operates 317 auditoriums at 31 locations in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia. The company is headquartered on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

mbates@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5290

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