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Bill Warren is at work on the biggest, and the smallest theater auditoriums in the metro area. At the Warren Theatre in Moore, 1000 Telephone Road, a 600-seat IMAX theater will open in February, while two auditoriums with about 40 seats each will open in two weeks.
“If you want to see a movie like movie moguls see them this is your chance,” Warren said.
left, Bill Warren, president of Wichita, Kan.-based Warren Theatres, stands in the lobby of the new Director's Suites at the theater in Moore. The two theaters will each offer about 40 seats, at $22 per seat, and offer an intimate setting in customized chairs with food and beverage service available. Warren says it is a "movie mogul" viewing experience. The auditoriums open Nov. 17.
For all the fledgling Fellinis, up-and-coming Kubricks and aspiring Spielberg’s, or those who want to feel like a famous director or movie mogul for an evening, Warren is introducing intimate theaters with all the bells and whistles in THX sound and digital picture, with the addition of custom made, plush reclining and heated chairs, each with a built in swiveling desk. The auditoriums will also offer food and drink service at a price of $22 per ticket, food and drinks not included.
The two auditoriums include their own lobby on the second floor of the building. Both auditoriums were custom built in existing, unused spaces. The second floor mezzanine also includes a bar and access to balconies in two auditoriums.
“It’s space that hadn’t been used,” Warren said of the two new screens and their lobby area. “We thought at some point we’d do something with it. It was designed to give us that flexibility.”
At a cost of about $2 million for the new auditoriums and lobby, Warren said he chose Moore because the theater consistently performs as one of the top theaters in the country. He has a similar auditorium to the Director’s Suites at his flagship in Wichita, but said it is not as luxurious as the new additions in Moore.
And while plans were at one time thrown around to open an additional Warren in northwest Oklahoma City, Warren said those plans are off the table for now, and he is doubling down with the $10 million IMAX and the Director’s Suites at the Moore theater.
“We wouldn’t be making this investment if we didn’t believe in Moore,” he said.
Moore Ward 1 Councilman David Roberts came to the unveiling of the new auditoriums Nov. 3. He and his wife, Brenda, come to the theater regularly, and have sat in the balcony several times. Balcony seats are $12 for matinee shows and $18 in the evening. After taking a seat in one of the new auditoriums, Roberts said he had nothing but praise for the new product.
“It’s very nice,” he said. “The seats are extremely comfortable.”
While the Roberts do not count themselves amongst the romantic vampire set, they do plan to catch the inaugural show Nov. 17 when the two screens premiere with a showing of Breaking Dawn, a part of the Twilight Saga movies.
“We’re not Twilight fans,” David Roberts said. “We just want to be a part of that first show.”
And will the Roberts pay the $22 ticket price on occasion?
“Absolutely,” David Roberts said. “I’d rather spend $3 more and go into the smaller theater. But that will be determined by what’s being shown.”
David Roberts has been on the city council since 2000, and worked with Warren throughout the planning process and construction of the theater. It opened in 2008. He said the city government has continually worked with Warren to create a business environment with as few hurdles as possible to get the theater built, and encourage its expansion. In turn, the theater has created new jobs, and brought in sales tax dollars from around the state from people visiting the theater.
“We’re very pleased,” David Roberts said.
The two screens will join the 14 others at the Warren, which includes two grand auditoriums with balconies.
Warren said the new screens will show a variety of films.
“We’re going to show mainly first-run hits, but we might be showing some independent movies occasionally,” he said. “We’re going to experiment a bit.”
The theaters will also be available to rent. Warren said those who rent the auditoriums will likely be able to request films already playing, and perhaps obtain others as licensing allows.
Leaning back in a plush chair and looking up at the screen in the first finished auditorium, Warren proudly said, “This is the way to watch a movie.”