KINGMAN - It looks like Christmas will come early this year for Kingman's movie buffs. The defunct movie theater at 4035 Stockton Hill Road, closed since late last year, is set to reopen under new management Dec. 12.
Abandoned by theater giant Cinemark the previous December, the aptly-named "The Movies" four-screen theater has received a new lease on life - literally - thanks to the efforts of a California theater owner and longtime cinema technician, Tom Daugherty.
"I spoke to the property owner - he's actually in Los Angeles - and I managed to secure a 10-year lease deal," Daugherty said Friday. "I've been working on this project probably the last six months. My partners in this are the Brenden Theatres people, they run the Avi Theater (in Laughlin, Nev.)."
Daugherty said the reopened theater would be a 50/50 partnership between himself and John Brenden, the owner of Brenden Theatres.
Daugherty will manage operations on site, while Brenden's company will handle bookings, promotions and back-office work.
"I told (Brenden) there was no theater in Kingman at this time, and I told him I'd been looking at this theater Cinemark had given up on," Daugherty said. "His feeling was that no town should be without a movie theater."
Now, in anticipation of its grand opening, Daugherty is performing a complete renovation of the derelict theater.
"We're actually doing new carpet, new concession stand, putting the equipment back in, good quality seats," he said. "We're going to have state-of-the-art equipment in, and digital sound. I don't have a full room for an arcade, but we will have some arcade machines inside here."
Once the theater is up and running, Daugherty said, it will remain a four-screen theater. His intent is to keep the theater's roster of first-run films diverse enough to attract cinema-goers of all ages and tastes.
"Basically, I want the theater to be as local as possible, I want to use local vendors as often as possible," he said. "I want it to be a community theater."
Preliminary pricing for the new theater is set at $5.50 for adults for matinee shows, $4.50 for children and seniors at all times, and $7.50 for adults for shows after 5 p.m.. Daugherty said he was unsure what the opening day roster will be, but he said it was very likely the theater's first major feature will be the action/sci-fi remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," scheduled for a Dec. 12 release, the same day the theater opens.
Daugherty said he has worked in the theater industry his whole life, starting as an usher in Colorado at age 16. He served as the director of engineering for the Mann theater company in Los Angeles for 18 years before starting his own technical theater service company, Southern California Cinetech Services, which he has since passed to his son. Daugherty also is leasing a six-screen theater in the Culver City area of Los Angeles with another partner.
Daugherty's plans may confound those of Cinemark, which in August announced its intent to build a brand new eight-screen theater in the Mountain View Plaza complex at Hualapai Mountain Road and Eastern Avenue. That theater's opening was informally planned for late summer 2009, which would give Daugherty roughly a seven-month head start on his competitors.