By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterNovember 14, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 14, 2013) -- Friday night was calm on the installation for many residents, but others experienced skies filled with lightning, sorcery and fire as they attended the reopening of the post theater with the showing of "Thor: The Dark World" Nov. 8.
Fort Rucker Soldiers and Family members can now enjoy first-run movies at competitive pricing without even leaving post, as after nearly a year after closing its doors to moviegoers, the virtually new post theater is open again.
"Last January, the theater was closed because it was unable to accommodate the digital format of new movies," said Susie Antonello, Army and Air Force Exchange Service marketing manager. "Outdated equipment and the fact that movies could only be shown on the installation theater six to eight weeks after release to the commercial theater resulted in low customer attendance."
The exchange reevaluated the Fort Rucker Theater, and the decision was made to invest an estimated $160,000 to convert to the new digital system, and update the lobby and concession areas.
With the upgrades complete, it was show time, and one moviegoer was ecstatic, saying the post just wasn't complete without the theater.
"It is great that it has reopened. I have really been looking forward to being here for the grand reopening and they picked the best movie for the event," said Ginger Cofer, military spouse. "My husband was in the military for 27 years and we have never been to an installation that didn't have a theater. Plus, it is a great place for Families to have a Family night out, or for teens to have a safe place to hang out."
She added that her favorite part about attending movies on a military installation is the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner" before the show begins because it is something unique to military communities.
A score of Marvel superhero characters were on hand to take photos with children and entertain patrons while they waited in line for tickets and concessions.
Wanting to ensure that the facility is financially stable, Fort Rucker is considering opening shows to non-DOD civilians, according to Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander.
"The more people we are able to bring to the theater the more sustainable it will be for the long term, and the money that the theater brings in goes back into Soldier programs," he said before he cut the ribbon Nov. 8.
Not only is the theater equipped to handle all new releases, without the previous long delays, but with the new set-up and an agreement with Disney, Fort Rucker moviegoers will enjoy first-run 3-D motion pictures as well, said Antonello.
"The quality of the digital viewing is something that our patrons need to come out and experience for themselves, along with updated snack bar and tasty menu items. There is nothing like fresh 'theater' popcorn. Everything in the snack bar is being updated -- even the popcorn machine," said Chris Ward AAFES public relations specialist.
Fort Rucker has also been selected to pre-screen movies. The first prescreening will be the R-rated movie "Home Front" Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.