Oakhurst theater opens doors after being saved
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Foothill residents no longer have to drive more than 40 miles to see the latest Hollywood release.
The Met Cinema is back in business after the projectors stopped running in November.
Hundreds of people showed up for the red carpet event. Many are just now getting out of the late movie showings.
This has been a premier five months in the making and one three Oakhurst natives have now dedicated their careers to.
The lights, camera and movie action are now back in Oakhurst.
Hundreds showed up for Friday's Hollywood-esque grand re-opening, complete with a red carpet, upscale dress code and photo-ops.
When the struggling and run-down theater shut it's doors last November, Keith Walker and two of his friends came up with a plan to save the cinema.
All these movie-watchers are now met members.
More than three thousand people bought in on a Netflix-style membership, paying a monthly fee to see each movie that rolls into Oakhurst.
Ron Thomas and his wife showed up all dressed up, ready to spend less for the Hollywood experience.
"It's much easier and it's certainly within our budget, like I say, once a week or once a day," Thomas said.
The founders of Movie Heroes Incorporated, the company now running the Met, say they couldn't have brought this place back to life without the community.
"It's like their spirits have been lifted, they've saved something they loved. And they prove that if you love something like that, you can come together as a community and not let it go," Matt Sconce said.
Volunteers spent a lot of time painting, cleaning and setting up for the premiere.
The theater still runs on film projectors but those will soon be switched out to these digital projectors.
Many foothill residents are hopeful the met will now offer new job opportunities.
And parents say it's a much-needed safe haven for teens.
"The way they've set it up, where you have the member cards, your kids if they're members they just come swipe their card, you don't even need to have money," Krissy Franke of Bass Lake said.
Switching over to digital operations is very costly and often forces theaters out of business. But this new membership model is helping to cover the costs.
The theater has been open for a week. The profits they're making in a day are what they projected for the entire week.
They're just hoping the excitement holds up.
oakhurst, madera county, local, rick montanez
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