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New movie theater to open in White City

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneA clean movie theater awaits the opening of Crater Lake Cinema in White City.
Ashland-based Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc. will open Crater Lake Cinema Dec. 3

More than a year after Cinemark shut its doors in White City, the movie projector will be rolling and kernels will be popping again at the same theater under new ownership.

Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc., based in Ashland, will open Crater Lake Cinema, 7501 Highway 62, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3.

“We’re just so grateful to the people that have reached out — our Facebook page is lit up. People are just so excited,” said Marek Murin, director of operations at Coming Attractions. “We’ll be standing outside the theater while we’re doing our work and people drive up, [asking] ‘when are you opening?’”

During the interview process to hire employees, Murin has heard people confide, “‘I may not get the job, but I’m still coming here to see a movie!’”

The raves — before the theater has even opened, no less — is the kind of thing Coming Attractions officials like to hear after the pandemic dealt a major blow to the movie industry, leading people to wonder if it would ever fully heal.

“It was difficult because we were not working,” Murin said. “I’ve been in this business for almost 40 years and this is unique.”

After more than a year of the pandemic, when movie executives tried different approaches to keep their business afloat, the Coming Attractions director said, everyone was realizing, “the theaters are important and people still want the movie theater experience.”

Coming Attractions hopes to give people just that in a spruced up facility hosting six theaters with 800 seats total.

Coming Attractions was left with an empty shell when it purchased the former Cinemark building in White City. So the Ashland-based company had to either buy new things or borrow some from the current theaters to make Crater Lake Cinemas what it became.

Speakers and their coverings, projectors, screens, concession stands and registers are all new. The building got a new paint job and electrical wiring. A new marquee was put up, as well.

“We have no control over the quality of the film,” Murin said with a laugh, “but we want them to make sure they have a good time in the building, at least.”

Crater Lake Cinema will have 15 employees and it might hire a few more people.

“Our niche is the smaller theater … we’re not in big cities, we’re not competing against the big guys,” Murin said. “[White City] was available and it’s in our backyard. It seemed like a no-brainer to us.”

Ashley Jensen, president of Eagle Point Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce, plans to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. She praised Coming Attractions’ work and the idea of a new theater in White City.

“It’s super important to see businesses come back alive again and support them,” she said. “This business is unique because it’s going to bring people that have missed going to the movies, socializing, [and] having … a normal way to go out and enjoy themselves.”

Crater Lake Cinema will start by showing seven films, including “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “No Time to Die” and “House of Gucci.”

For show times at Crater Lake Cinema, visit www.catheatres.com/ or call 541-500-0360.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.