FAIRMONT - A day has been set for the movie theater to reopen in Fairmont.
"We've still got work to do, but we'll make Sept. 9," said Dan Blaalid, proprietor of the newly named Five Lakes Cinema.
Evergreen Entertainment, the facility's former tenant, was evicted from the property July 1 for failing to pay rent since September 2010. Blaalid has worked for Evergreen as theater manager for eight years. When the cinema was shut down, he stepped up.
MOVIE?MAN?— Dan Blaalid, proprietor of Five Lakes Cinema, plans to reopen the Fairmont movie theater Sept. 9.
"What I want people to know is we're not Fairlakes Cinema 5 anymore. I can finally run this place like it should be," he said.
While he initially hoped to be back in business in time for the final Harry Potter movie, he was delayed in part by Minnesota's government shutdown. It postponed obtaining the necessary permits and licensing.
There has also been interior and exterior work to be done, like painting and a whole lot of cleaning, from the floors, to the walls, to the seats.
"Having the roof repaired, that was the big thing," Blaalid said.
Around August 2010, the facility's roof started leaking. Buckets were put out to catch the drips. It was embarrassing, Blaalid said, but he had no authority to have it fixed and the problem continued until Evergreen was evicted.
"This one was really bad, when water started leaking through the roof," he said, flipping on the lights to one of the five theaters. "Now we've got it all fixed, and we'll have it repainted."
Starting out, Five Lakes Cinema will have an introductory admission price of $5 for all shows, and concession prices will be marked down.
"We're doing the $5 deal to reinvigorate the people, and get them coming back," Blaalid said. "We want this to be somewhere people want to bring their families."
Matinees likely will stay at $5 after the introductory period, with adults and evening fares to increase. How much, Blaalid couldn't or wouldn't say, but he did make it clear that $8 - the amount Evergreen was charging for admission - was too much.
Also new: The facility will be able to accept credit and debit cards, and reloadable gift cards will be available.
"I think that will be a big draw for people," Blaalid said.
Blaalid couldn't say for sure what movies will be showing when Five Lakes Cinema opens next week, but he does have a plan in place.
"I thought it would be kind of neat to keep two current (films) and then bring everyone up to speed from July forward," he said.
This would allow local patrons to see popular summer hits, like the latest Harry Potter flick, Captain America, Horrible Bosses, etc.
In regard to the actual movie equipment, it's in good working order. Anyone hoping for 3-D technology will have to continue waiting, however.
"People want 3-D now, but it's not producing what people thought it would," Blaalid said. "For this area, it's just not feasible."
When the theater closed, a lot of suggestions were made on how to improve the facility's bottom line, but most people have little understanding of how the business actually works. Filmmakers keep a sizeable percentage of ticket sales.
"What we basically live off of is what we make through concessions," Blaalid said.