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Wildhorse 6 Stadium Cinemas opens its doors


— The wait is over.

Wildhorse 6 Stadium Cinemas opens today and offers a moviegoing experience that includes wall-to-wall, 35-foot-by-35-foot screens, gourmet popcorn and stadium seats with 44-inch backs and legroom to spare.

"This is a dream come true for me," general manager Mark Green said. "I operated the Chief Plaza Theater downtown for more than a decade and owned and operated Mountain Movie for a few seasons.

"With all the growth in the Yampa Valley, the movie business didn't keep up. After all these years, we now have something that's really high-end."

The cinema has six auditoriums. During the opening week, the theater will show two anticipated summer blockbusters -- "The Da Vinci Code" and "Over the Hedge." Also showing are "Scary Movie 4," "Inside Man" and "United 93."

Three of the theaters have full stadium seating. The largest one has 164 seats, and the other three theaters have stadium seating in the back and sloped seating in the front.

"The view is good, and you won't have a Marge Simpson sitting in front of you with a crazy hairdo," Green said.

The theater is ready for the future of cinema. "The building is equipped to change with the times," Green said. "We've already purchased the new digital equipment and wiring for when Hollywood decides to make that transition."

What: Grand Opening of the Wildhorse 6 Stadium CinemasWhen: Opens at 3:30 p.m. today; first showing is at 4:35 p.m.Where: 655 Marketplace PlazaCost: $8.75 for adult evening show, $6 for adult matinee, $6 for children and seniors for all showsCall: 870-8222

The theater was built as a joint venture between Metro--politan Theatres and Rocky Mountain Cinemas. The companies have 125 years of movie history between them.

The Corwin family, which

owns Metropolitan Theatres, built their first theater in 1923. Four generations later, they are building Wildhorse 6 Stadium Cinemas, Green said. "Both companies are operated by two very historical movie families."

Marshall Smith, CEO of Rocky Mountain Cinemas, designed the theater and has been in the business for 40 years. "I started doing the books for my dad in junior high," Smith said.

Wildhorse 6 Stadium Cine--mas and Chief Plaza Theater will not show the same films.

"We are evidently in an allocated area where we are too close to play the same movie," said Larry Collins, vice president of film for Carmike Cinemas, which owns Chief Plaza Theater downtown. "In any competitive market, if theaters are within a certain mileage of each other, we are too close to play the same movies."

The film companies decide where their movies are played and try to equally distribute them among theaters, Collins said. "We as exhibitors don't control how distributors allocate their movies."

Collins would not comment about the opening of the new theater.

Wildhorse 6 Stad--ium Cine--mas will do more than show movies. The theater also will provide space for business meetings and classrooms.

"We are also working with the Steamboat Springs Cham--ber Resort Association to generate interest for a possible film festival," Green said. "A lot of the resort communities are doing it."

Green understands that the theater's opening has been highly anticipated.

"The goal is to exceed everybody's expectations," Green said. "I'm going to be watching a lot of movies, I know that."


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