When Joe Masher got his first look at Reston’s only movie theater, he reacted in a way similar to many Restonians.
“It was hard for us to believe that a theater could exist in this condition in the ” Masher says.
Masher wasn’t just looking as a patron. As the chief operating officer of Bowtie Cinemas, he looked with an even more critical eye. In early spring, Bowtie, a Connecticut-based company with 18 upscale theaters, took over management of the Reston movie house from Rave Motion Pictures. So Masher looked to see what changes needed to be made.
The list was a long one.
The progress thus far:
- A “very thorough cleaning”
- Repair of broken items, including theater seats and restroom facilities
- Installation of 3D capabilities.
- Only fresh popcorn – no warmers.
- The additions of coffee to concession stand menus.
- New staff.
- Putting numbers on the theaters.
- And – to the relief of many irate patrons from earlier days – “We put the titles back on the marquee.”
The company has also begun several new programs, including $6 Tuesdays (including summer evening show times), the Criterion Club (you earn points for tickets purchased – points can be redeemed for concession items and movie tickets), and the Kids Club (free family-friendly movies each Tuesday and Wednesday in summer until Aug. 17. Doors open at 9 a.m.; movies show at 10 a.m.).
Those who eat in Reston Town Center restaurants should also ask if the restaurant participates in "Dinner and a Movie," which features discounted or free movie tickets as a perk for dining in the restaurant.
But all these things are just the beginning. Next month, the company will begin a large reconstruction project that will bring significant changes to the theater.
Masher says the theater will remain open during the construction, but with eight screens instead of 13. He expects a grand reopening in April 2012.
Coming attractions include:
- Stadium seating in all auditoriums.
- Bigger screens, some as large as 50 feet wide.
- Elimination of the small auditoriums.
- Additions to the concession stand menus to include more substantial fare such as chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, French fries and pizza.
Masher sums it up with this company goal: “We’re going to make sure that we give nobody a reason to leave Reston Town Center to go to the movies.”