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Examiner
  • Premium seating, quality viewing at renovated Blue Springs theater

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  • Seats aren't something communicated well in words.
    Walking through the renovated Blue Springs 8 Theatre – a striking interior done in the grays and reds of a yet-to-arrive future with spare details like the handsome stone work – it's easy to miss Director of Public Relations John Shore's appreciation of the theater's new thrones.
    “Now, take a seat here,” Shore said pointing to a leather, high-backed business class affair next to an identical one he occupies in the darkened cinema.
    With a large bubbly beverage of your choice and way more popcorn than any one human being should ever have – served with the theater's signature must-have: real butter – and you're set for a feature length lounge under one of the theater's eight new digital projectors.
    Or a home movie or any other personal DVDs Shore and theater's staff invite the community to bring over.
    “We're really trying to turn this into a community place again,” Shore said. “Just build it up to where it used to be.”
    And by “where it used to be,” Shore isn't talking about where the theater was $1.5 million ago.
    Locals will remember the theater that time as a serviceable but neglected member of the Dickinson Theatres chain.
    It had come a long way down since once being Crown Cinema's flagship theater, “if you can believe that,” said the Blue Springs 8 Theatre Manager Kevin Barnett.
    That would have been right around the early 1990s when Barnett was meeting with the company's other managers. Those were the good years: business was strong, Billy Crystal's reign over American cinema was potent, and the managers all watched “City Slickers together” during the conference.
    Then, about eight operators later, the theater lurched into owner Bob Hartley's direct field of vision when the Dickinson Theatres went bankrupt leaving him owner and operator with Barnett at the helm.
    It was an untenable situation as the ailing theater required either serious TLC or an end of cinematic operations to minimize Hartley's losses.
    What happened next? Those curious need only drive up Missouri 7 north of Interstate 70 in Blue Springs to find out. You're looking for an impressive palatial building at 1901 N. Misssouri 7 off to the west side, done in gray and red.
    Don't be surprised if you're following a line of cars in, some perhaps there for the monthly showing of classics or to cash in on the movie-and-bowl pass the Blue Springs 8 Theatre and Lunar Bowl have decided to offer together.
    You might see a lot from the highway, but Shore, Bennett and the rest of the team prefer you just take a seat inside and judge for yourself.
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