BLUEFIELD — For the first time since the 1970s, the Granada Theater will start screening first-run movies next month.
Nicole Thompson, House Manager and Planning Director for the Bluefield Arts Revitalization Corp. (BARC), said the first movie, which will open on Jan. 6, is “The Fabelmans,” a Stephen Spielberg film that has already been nominated for many awards.
The theater, which reopened in August 2021 after an extensive renovation, has been showing a mix of classical and older popular movies.
But that has changed with an upgrade in technology.
“We had to get some new equipment (to show first-run movies),” Thompson said, and there has been a “little learning curve” on operating it.
That meant learning how to use the latest digital projector technology as theaters have switched to the digital format that does not require the film reels, which had been a staple since the early 1900s.
“The Fabelmans” is a semi-autobiographical story about Spielberg’s youth and his fascination with movies.
The film chronicles his development as a young filmmaker and will play Jan. 6-7 and Jan 13-14 at 7 p.m. and on Jan. 8 and Jan. 15 (Sundays) at 5 p.m.
“The Fabelmans” has already received five Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is expected to be a major contender for Oscars.
Thompson said first-run films for now will be shown on Friday and Saturday nights with a Sunday afternoon screening.
“We will see how that goes first, then we can add more if needed,” she said of screenings.
New movies will be announced about two weeks in advance, she added.
Thompson also said children’s Saturday morning movies will continue, with a new time at 10 a.m., with “Toy Story” and “Frozen” coming up.
Besides the Granada, the new Raleigh Street Cinemas is slated to open in May and the two 50-seat theaters will also show first-run movies.
The theater is located on the bottom floor of the Granada building that faces Raleigh Street.
Thompson said the Granada has had a “very good” December, from traditional Christmas movies to concerts, with the group “Envision” performing on Saturday night to bring in the New Year.
Tickets for that show/New Year’s Eve party are $50 and can be purchased at bluefieldgranada.com.
People are very supportive of the Granada, she said, with a lot of “new traffic” visiting the historic theater.
Showing first-run movies should also bring new traffic not only to the theater but to the downtown area.
— Contact Charles Boothe at firstname.lastname@example.org