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Corydon Cinemas reels in the fun with family films, summer blockbusters


July 09, 2008
Gas prices got you down? Don't know of any way to beat the heat? Think affordable family fun is a thing of the past? Well, if you're in need of some welcome distractions, look no further than your own backyard. Residents of Crawford, Floyd and Harrison counties will be pleased to learn that there are plenty of interesting places to visit within the tri-county area that don't require a lot of money for admission or traveling. In a new weekly column, the Clarion News will feature places that you can take your family for a good time on the cheap. This week we'll be featuring the Corydon Cinemas.

It's true that summers should, for the most part, be spent outside enjoying the sunshine. However, there are occasions, in the case of this summer, many occasions, when the weather becomes less than desirable, and we're forced to pass our time indoors. Thankfully, there is a place we can go to pass the time with roomy, comfortable seats and hot, buttery popcorn while enjoying the latest summer blockbuster. And let's face it, no summer would be complete without a trip to the movies, and what better place to go than the local Corydon Cinemas.

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Corydon Cinemas offers seven screens with something for everybody. (Photo by Nick Simpson)
Established in 1984 by Edsel Byrd, Corydon Cinemas has been bringing quality movies to the local community for nearly 25 years. Now owned by son Chris Byrd, the theater has seen a lot of changes within the past three years of his ownership.

In the first three months of 2005, the theater was closed for the remodeling of the lobby to give it a more modern look. Construction was conducted again in May 2006 with the adding of a new wing containing three new screens. Corydon Cinemas now boasts seven screens with a total capacity of 1,100 viewers. Each screen has digital sound and the new screens are equipped with stadium-seating.

While having seven screens may be perfect for the Harrison and Crawford County market, it does occasionally present issues for Byrd on which movies to play. Byrd has an intermediary who works with the movie studios to decide mutually what movies to play based on draw and availability. The decision most heavily falls on how many prints are made. More than 2,500 prints are usually required for Corydon Cinemas to be able to play a movie on its opening weekend. If the film has less than 2,000 prints, it may take months before the theater is able to obtain a copy. The decision then comes to be whether or not the film is still popular enough to draw a crowd.

Sometimes there is too much product, as in too many summer blockbusters released within a few weeks of each other. Byrd plans on showing each film at least three weeks so a decision must be made on which big hits to show. When it comes down to it, Byrd will almost always choose a family film over a more adult-oriented film or art film because the family film has a bigger draw.

"There's no question we do best with family films," Byrd said.

To emphasize the point, Byrd gave the example of "American Gangster" and "Bee Movie," two films that came out at the same time last November. "American Gangster" had the bigger numbers nationally, but "Bee Movie" did five times more business at Corydon Cinemas.

The movie business is full of surprises it seems. Byrd himself did not think his most recent huge seller, "Alvin and the Chipmunks," was going to amount to much, but it ended up being a big hit for the theater.

"You never know what the public will go for," he said.

Corydon Cinemas sees its biggest business during the summer from about mid-May to mid-August. After school starts in the fall, it sees a drop in Monday through Thursday business of around 90 percent. If you like seeing a movie with the theater to yourself, this is the best time to come to Corydon Cinemas.

Ticket sales are obviously a big part of Byrd's business, but the real moneymaker is popcorn.

"Popcorn is what pays all my bills," Byrd said.

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Illustration by Alisha Sonner
The popcorn he uses comes from local companies. These include Ramsey Popcorn, Cousin Willy's and Preston Farms. Byrd tries to stay as local as he can with his concessions, saying he gets a "better product at a better price."

Behind the scenes at the theater, you'll find top of the line projecting equipment that uses huge reels of 35mm film. Byrd feels that many people don't realize how complex the projecting process is.

"A lot of people think you just hit PLAY," Byrd said, referencing occasions when a storm causes a power outage and the movie must be restarted with portions skipped.

"You can't rewind the reels," he said. "They have to go all the way through."

Such is the case with nearly every theater.

Employment opportunities at Corydon Cinemas have perfect appeal for high school students. Byrd called the theater a fun place to work and mentioned that its hours of operation are all after-school.

* * *

Cost: Adults - $8, Senior Citizens (ages 62 and older) - $6,

Children 3 to 12 - $6, Children under 3 - FREE

Matinees (any show starting before 6 p.m.)- $6

Summer Hours: Monday - Friday Beginning at 4 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday Beginning at Noon

School Year Hours: Monday - Friday Beginning at 6 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday Beginning at Noon

For more information & showtimes go to

www.corydoncinemas.com

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