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Varsity Theatre to reopen on holiday weekend

Posted November 22, 2009
Updated November 23, 2009

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— The Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill will reopen the day after Thanksgiving.

The landmark at 123 E Franklin St. closed last spring because business was slow.

Paul and Susan Shareshian bought the theater and have since been remodeling it.

"I started to think that it might be nice to reopen the movie theater, because it's a great part of downtown. Then I started researching and it really has been since 1927, it has always been a theater here,” Paul Shareshian said.

The Shareshians have renovated the lobby and concession area. Instead of playing independent films, the theater will screen mainstream movies, classics and recent releases for $3 a ticket.

"For a family of four, the admission will be $12. The concession prices will be more reasonable here. So I think from that part, we are going to compete much better,” Paul Shareshian said.

Neighboring business owners have expressed excitement over the theater's reopening. Some have even offered to help celebrate this weekend.

Katrina Ryan, owner of Sugarland Bakery, volunteered to bake a Wizard of Oz cake for opening night.

"Cake makes everything an event,” Ryan said.

The theater will be showing the “The Wizard of Oz” this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 1, 3:10, 5:20 7:30 p.m.

Ryan said she thinks the theater will help bring more people to downtown area businesses.

"I think that it brings some real life downtown, it brings families downtown, college kids always love a bargain,” she said.

The Shareshians also plan to host birthday parties and private screenings at the theater.

3 Comments

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  • micah Nov 25, 2009

    No, they CANNOT show a new release for such a low admission price. None of the studios will allow it. Remember, the studio gets a percentage of the theaters box office takings. They will not allow a just released film to screen in a theater where their aggregate film rental will be below a certain threshold. The theater must wait for the film to go "sub-run" and then they can charge whatever they want.

  • anneonymousone Nov 23, 2009

    I'll miss the indie films there, but I'm glad to see the theater back in business.

    Micah, I thought the same thing, but classics may be so inexpensive to show that it may help to alleviate the coast of showing a new movie at $3 a seat. Of course, I may be full of it up to my ears.

    My best to the new owners.

  • micah Nov 23, 2009

    "Instead of playing independent films, the theater will screen mainstream movies, classics and recent releases for $3 a ticket."

    They won't be able to run "mainstream movies" until many weeks after their initial opening date if they are only charging $3 a ticket.