Want to see a movie this weekend in Conway? Head over to B&B Theatres Conway 12 because after Sunday, Sept. 11, the entire theater will be closed for possibly up to ten weeks for remodeling.
“Finally, things are happening,” said Paul Farnsworth, director of media relations for B&B Theatres. “There have been delays that have been Covid-related – supply chain, inventory – we’ve been uncertain about some time frames.”
The Missouri-based company bought the more than 2,000-seat building in 2019 after the site’s former owner, Frank Theaters, closed due to bankruptcy proceedings. The theater reopened in late 2019 with the new ownership and plans for remodeling while keeping part of the building open, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Farnsworth said they are hoping for a 10-week closure, and a reopening that will hopefully coincide with the opening of the "Black Panther" movie sequel "Wakanda Forever" in November.
“September through October is a historically slow period,” Farnsworth said, citing children being back in school and less new content coming from Hollywood during that time.
Movie fans can expect a higher level of comfort once renovations are complete, since the anticipated changes include all-new heated reclining seats throughout the building.
While these seating upgrades will significantly reduce the total number of seats available, Farnsworth said on any given day the theater is not 100% full, and these new seats will allow for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
Farnsworth said they are also installing laser projection, which just gives the viewer an enhanced presentation onscreen.
Another upgrade will be what Farnsworth calls a proprietary premium large format theater with a 50-foot screen for films of a larger scale and scope.
“Top Gun Maverick would have been shown in there,” Farnsworth said.
People who are relegated to the front row for a crowded movie may not find that location undesirable anymore, thanks to the new “max relax” chaise lounge chairs that allow for enhanced sightlines and a more comfortable time in the front row.
“They’ve been well-received, we’ve put them in a number of locations,” Farnsworth said.
Ticket prices will remain the same, he said.
Some other aesthetic changes will happen in the main lobby, from an enhanced snack area to a new bar where patrons can purchase alcoholic beverages.
In May 2020, the Conway City Council approved an incentives package that would help B&B Theatres make more than $4 million in upgrades to the Conway movie theater.
Part of the May 2020 agreement city council approved was more than $17,000 for construction-related fees, not including reimbursement for business license fees, hospitality fees and property taxes for up to five years. The city property taxes were about $20,000 per year under the former owner.
City of Conway spokesperson June Wood confirmed that B&B will still receive these incentives, as they do not begin receiving these benefits until the remodel is completed and the theater opens to the public with their new changes.
“It’s been frustrating that it’s [the remodel] been back-burnered for so long,” Farnsworth said. “It’s really great.”