Work will soon begin on a major revamp for the area’s only multi-screen theater, the Oaks 7 Cinema at 2250 Harrison St. in Batesville.
The theater closed earlier this month after the Oaks II Center did not renew its lease with the cinema’s previous tenant, AMC Theatres.
The Little Rock-based chain, Theater Group, Inc., will take over and begin refurbishing the theater, which will be known as the Oaks 7 VIP Cinema, next week.
Matt Smith with Theater Group, Inc. told White River Now that work will initially be sporadic because of the holiday season, but he targets a re-opening date of the Oaks 7 for sometime in January.
The theater, built in the mid-90s, will be upgraded with new amenities and technology. In addition to different signage, fresh paint, and an updated concession stand with a new and expanded food and beverage menu, Smith says each of the seven theaters will also go through a major overhaul.
“We’ll be putting in some new projection systems and new screens which will allow for a much better, brighter picture,” said Smith. “We’re upgrading our sound to 7.1 Dolby Digital — so, a much better sound experience for the customer.”
The old seats for the Oaks 7 are also being removed and replaced with larger, more comfortable seating that will result in the seat count for each auditorium being cut roughly in half.
“They’re luxury, leather high-back rockers with cupholders,” said Smith. “We’ll have substantially less seats in the building because the seats we’re installing are about two-and-a-half times larger than the seats that are in the theater now. The old seats at the theater, they had about 100 chairs in each room. We’ll be down to about 50 chairs in each room because the seats are so much larger.”
Theater Group Inc. also owns and operates the Riverdale 10 VIP in Little Rock, the Hot Springs 8 VIP Cinema, the Cabot 8 VIP Cinema, the Searcy 8 VIP Cinema, along with locations in Missouri and Illinois. Like their other cinemas, Smith says the Oaks 7 VIP will offer first-run movies, gift cards, an email newsletter, a rewards club, and reserved seating through the Theater Group Inc. mobile app, which is available for download through the Google and Apple app stores, or through the Oaks 7 VIP website — www.oaksvipcinema.com.
“We want to focus on sight, sound, seat, and service for our customers and bring a much, much better experience to Batesville,” said Smith. “It’s just really an honor and a privilege to be here and to have this opportunity to serve the citizens of Batesville and Independence County, and, of course, the surrounding communities. We are very proud to be a family-owned local Arkansas business, and the largest independent movie cinema exhibitor in the state. We are members of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and look forward to being involved in the wonderful community that is Independence County.”
A screenshot of the new Oaks 7 VIP Cinema website
Listen below to an interview with Matt Smith regarding plans for the new Oaks 7 VIP Cinema.
Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. and Ozark Newsline on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ. White River Now updates are also broadcast weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. If you have a news tip or event to promote, email White River Now at email@example.com. Be sure to like and follow White River Now on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.