Theatre slated to open July 13

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2007

An eagerly awaited project is on target for its scheduled July 13 opening.

The NAOS Theater, to be located on the north side of the Greenville Wal-Mart, already has much of its electrical and plumbing work in place and slabs poured, said Marty Felts, CEO of the company.

Felts spoke to the Greenville Lions on Monday about the venture, the first of several multi-screen, state-of-the-art theater complexes his company has planned for towns in the region, including Eufaula.

&#8220When we first talked about opening a theater, Greenville wasn't even on the radar. As I have said before, I have to give credit to your mayor and the city council for really pursuing this,” Felts said.

The entrepreneur, who has 20 years of experience in the theatre business, has also chosen to make the Camellia City his new home.

&#8220If you have seen the remodeling project on College Street, that is my house. We hope to move the family in by early summer,” Felts said.

With 2007 the first year in movie history with more than $10 billion in revenues, Felts foresees a busy summer at the local theater.

&#8220We have more than 20 sequels coming out this yearŠand that is a big draw for business.”

While Felts promises only new, first-run films on the theater's eight screens, he said the first week to two weeks at the Greenville NAOS this summer would also feature projected blockbusters like &#8220Shrek 3” and &#8220Spiderman 3,” scheduled to open in the spring and early summer.

&#8220After those initial two weeks, it will be just the latest offerings from Hollywood,” Felts said.

The theater will offer patrons the option to purchase tickets 24/7 from special automated box office terminals, and later a Website will allow moviegoers to buy tickets online as well.

Felts said they wanted to make the movie-going experience as comfortable and convenient as possible.

&#8220We will have six to eight concession terminals so no one ever has to wait in a long line to get their popcorn and drinks.”

The individual auditoriums will range in seating capacity from 110 to 210 occupants, and all will feature stadium-style seating with 18-inch risers.

Two of the eight screens will be digital, allowing the theater to screen the latest in 3-D movies.

&#8220Everything is automated, so we guarantee the start times will be as scheduled,” Felts said.

The CEO promised the theater would always be open by 1 p.m., &#8220whether it is a weekday or weekend.”

&#8220Obviously, we expect to be busiest Fridays through Sundays, but we'll be happy to run a movie on a weekday afternoon even if only a handful of people are there,” Felts said.

He added the theater would also be willing to work with schools, civic clubs and other community groups on fundraising projects.

&#8220Say, in the fall or spring, a group wants to do a fundraiser using something like ‘Gone With the Wind.' We will get the print, shut off that auditorium for the group and show the movie one or two times,” Felts said.

&#8220The group covers the cost of obtaining the print and the rest is profit for them from ticket sales.”

And speaking of tickets, Felts estimates the average cost of a ticket will be $7.50 for adults and $5.50 for children.

The theater is currently advertising for a general manager and several assistant managers to run the complex.

&#8220Once school is out here, we plan to hold a job fair and hire probably about 50 more people,” Felts said.

&#8220We are very much into hiring the youth in our community, giving them a good first job experience. And we will be flexible with their schedules.”

Employees must be at least 16 years of age, Felts said.

For those who question how a large theater can survive in a small town, Felts had this to say:

&#8220Sure, we realize on weekdays and during the slower times of the year, we will lose money. That's just a fact. But we know business during the summer and holiday periods will make up for that. We are really looking forward to opening up here.”