By spring, midstate movie-goers will have a new option for watching the latest motion pictures.
Grading work has begun on a site on Lake Joy Road at Ga. 96 in Warner Robins for a 2,000-seat movie theater featuring 10 screens, said Bill Stembler, CEO of Georgia Theatre Co.
The 30,000-square-foot theater will be on about 8.5 acres adjacent to Lowe’s and across Lake Joy Road from Mellow Mushroom.
“It’s our goal to be open in May,” Stembler said.
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All the screens at the new Houston Lakes Stadium Cinemas will use digital projection and each theater will feature high-back seating and Dolby four-track sound systems.
The St. Simons Island-based, family-owned company is making a total investment of more than $3 million in the theater project, he said.
“Digital enables you to do a 3-D presentation that is far superior to what existed in the 50-60s and even up until 10 years ago,” he said.
“One or two of the 10 auditoriums will be 3-D capable. ... I’ve designed it so it can be expanded to 14 screens if the business warrants it in the coming years.”
The theater complex is expected to have about 20 employees with more workers during busy times.
Discussions about the theater began about three years ago with a plan to build it about two years ago, but the economy slowed down those plans, he said.
Georgia Theatre Co. also owns the Galleria Mall Stadium Cinemas 15 in Centerville and the Parkway Value Cinemas 6 in Warner Robins, which offers $1.99 movies.
Stembler said he expects some of the customers who would normally go to the Galleria movies to come to the new theater, but sometimes the Galleria theaters have “run to capacity,” on some movies.
Also, sometimes different movies will be shown at the two theaters.
“We’re hoping to draw from central Georgia, from Perry and southward, from Fort Valley and across (Ga.) 96 to the east,” he said.
“It will definitely hurt our existing theater (at the mall), but based on my projections, I think we will still be profitable there.”
Stembler expects the existing theaters to remain open. The lease on the Parkway Value Cinemas recently was renewed, and the Galleria theater was expanded about four years ago, he said.
To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.