New owners open Morrisville movie theater ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Inside the auditoriums of Park West 14, the lights will dim and the big screens will glow before audiences ready to experience the magic of movies once again.

Getting a jump on the weekend, the new owner of Morrisville's Park West Village cinema will open on Thursday.

This is the first North Carolina location for B&B Theatres, a family owned-and-operated company based in Kansas City, MO.

"It looks brand new; it's immaculately kept," said Paul Farnsworth, B&B Spokesperson, while standing inside one of Park West 14's large auditoriums. "It was not a time we had anticipated doing any sort of aggressive expansion, but we got approached by the Morrisville community and by this development asking if this was something we would take a look at."

Just like the rest of the movie theater industry, B&B Theatres was forced to shut down operations for months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Virtually all of our entire family, employee family, was furloughed," said Farnsworth. "So it was a very trying, devastating time, emotionally and financially. But that has become a thing of the past."

Farnsworth said with Hollywood's movie release schedule now set and the vaccine rollout helping to lift the fog of the pandemic, Park West 14, previously owned by Stone Theatres, is now ready to reopen for regular showings.

COVID-19 safety measures will be in place: auditoriums will be limited to 50 percent capacity with social distancing enforced by staff, and face masks will be required in the lobby and whenever guests get up to use the restroom.

Movies released this week such as Wrath of Man and Here Today starring Billy Crystal, will be shown along with other recent releases, but Farnsworth is already looking forward to Memorial Day weekend releases of Cruella and A Quiet Place Part II.

"We kind of feel like Memorial Day is really gonna be the big kickoff for the summer and fall season where it's almost gonna be a tentpole film after blockbuster after hit," said Farnsworth.

Long before the pandemic took away the option to hit up the concessions and file inside a dark theater to take in your flick of choice, movie theaters faced stiff competition from streaming services.

Farnsworth, undeterred, said it's the unique entertainment factor only a movie theater can offer that will compel people to get off their couches and into theater seats.

After all, he said, everyone has a kitchen table at home, but they still go out to eat.

"I think there's nothing like the theatrical experience," said Farnsworth. "It's just better when you're on a big screen, in an auditorium full of people, sharing that kind of community experience."
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