ENGLEWOOD — After being closed for approximately four years the Englewood Cinema is reopening under new ownership.
New owners George Rand, Luke and Alyssa Sowers are excited to have the opportunity to provide a true hometown theater experience for residents of Englewood and the surrounding area.
Located in the Country Square Shopping Center at 320 W. National Rd., the cinema sits at the back of the complex directly across from the former Kmart building.
When movies went digital the cost to acquire equipment needed to show movies in digital format proved to be too expensive for the former owners. As a result the cinema closed in 2015.
The new owners signed a lease during the last week of August after touring the facility in July.
“We never knew the cinema was here, but a coworker of mine knew we were trying to start our own cinema and he told us we should check out the Englewood Cinema,” Luke Sowers said. “We drove up here, looked in the door and said, ‘We are going to call this guy.’ We called him and a couple of emails later we got to come out and look at it and that’s how it came about.”
Sowers said that after he and Rand toured the cinema they immediately knew they wanted to open it back up for business.
“We knew that there was life left in it, that it should be saved and we spent almost two months fixing this place back up to its former glory,” Sowers noted. “We have the capability to show second run films and older films and by the end of the year we plan on showing first run films. That is our goal.”
Local residents will have the chance to visit the cinema this weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 19 Englewood Cinema will be holding a ‘Horrorama Homecoming’ from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. A family-friendly matinee starts at noon on Saturday with screenings of ‘The Invisible Man,’ ‘Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man’ and ‘King Kong.’ Admission to the matinee is $5. The scarier movies begin at 7 p.m., which includes films like ‘Army of Darkness’ and ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ Admission for the Horrorama evening marathon is $10.
“It’s the 23rd annual Horrorama event,” Sowers said. “They hosted it here I believe for 19 years until the cinema closed.”
Dr. Creep, the late Barry Lee Hobart who died Jan. 14, 2011 along with Rick Martin and the now deceased Andy Copp started the Horrorama event and donated all the money raised from the annual event to local charities.
Sowers is friends with this year’s Horrorama event organizers, Matt Brassfield and Juliet Fromholt.
“I’ve been helping them do it for the last couple of year’s so when we signed the lease here those were the first people we contacted and they agreed to come back,” Sowers explained.
Englewood Cinema’s grand opening takes place Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. with show times at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Featured films are ‘The Goonies’ and ‘47 Meters Down: Uncaged.’
“We are showing one classical movie and one second run title,” Sowers stated.
For the first two weeks admission is $1 all day, every day.
“We really wanted to hone in on the idea of charging one dollar to get everyone in,” Rand said. “It has been pretty awesome to see the reaction by the city. We are not directly from Englewood, but just to see the way that we’ve been welcomed in as fellow Dayton residents has just been awesome, so we figured we would do our best to give back and get this $1 admission out there and get things going the right way and on the right foot.”
Sowers added, “We are big on being community oriented. We are both from Riverside. We went to Stebbins High School and we grew up near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and have been good friends for about 15 years. We are all about the community, so we are going to take all of our initial income from the cinema and put it back into this place. We want to make it as new as possible by making upgrades. We want to upgrade the seats, the flooring in the theater and make as many upgrades as we can. We want to have community nights and events for people who specifically live in Englewood to give back and be part of other things than go on outside of the cinema.”
Rand added that the opportunity to get the cinema back up and running is a dream come true.
“It’s awesome being a small business owners,” Rand said. “At a time when it is mass globalization of everything with corporate entities all over the place, I just think it is so beautiful to have a local business doing local business with local people. I think that-that means a lot and I feel people are going to respect us for that. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind