Category Archives: Movie Theatres

Feature: Capri Theater (New Sharon, Iowa)

Capri Theater (New Sharon, Iowa)

Once part of the Iowa-based Fridley Theatres chain, the one-screen Capri Theater in New Sharon, Iowa, is now operated by a non-profit community organization.  Since acquiring the theater, the group has managed to keep prices low while improving the moviegoer’s experience.  A few years ago, a fundraiser was held to install plush new cushioned seats, while just last year a grant allowed the purchase of a new projector.

The theater shows a first-run movie each weekend, with two shows nightly on Fridays and Saturdays, and a single matinee show each Sunday.  Tickets are a mere $3; we purchased two tickets, popcorn and a large drink for just over $10, or roughly a third what we spent at a big-city megaplex cinema the week before.

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Feature: Collins Road Theatres (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Collins Road Theatres (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

There are few more quintessential weekend activities than attending a movie at the local theatre.  Unfortunately, at most theatres it’s impossible to take the family to a feature film without spending an arm and a leg.  The tickets alone for a family of four will run over $30, not to mention the popcorn, candy and soda for consuming during the movie.

Luckily, if you’re in the Cedar Rapids area, there is a great movie theatre that won’t break the budget.  It’s the Collins Road Theatres, a locally-owned venue that shows primarily second-run movies at discounted ticket prices of $4 to $5.  Beyond the reasonable admission cost, concessions are cheap, the workers are ultra-friendly, and it’s the only theatre in town to feature real butter for the popcorn.

When we were students at Cornell College in nearby Mt. Vernon, we made regular trips to the Collins Road Theatres after its opening in 2003.  Unlike many second-run theatre, Collins Road features a charming lobby, plush seats, great sound, and is all-in-all well-maintained.  As an added bonus, many of the weekend shows are preceded by an introduction from the theatre manager Bruce Taylor, including a drawing for free concessions for those in attendance.

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Feature: Windsor Theatre (Hampton, Iowa)

Windsor Theatre (Hampton, Iowa)

Though Iowa is home to many one-screen movie theatres, few have a more compelling story than the Windsor Theatre in Hampton, Iowa.  Located on the northwest corner of Hampton’s picturesque courthouse, the theatre plays first-run movies nightly, with extra shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Windsor Theatre was constructed in 1913 and in continuous operation through May 1996.  When the theatre ceased operation, the community took action.  A group of students and adults banded together to form a non-profit organization dedicated to reopening the theatre.  Over a quarter-million dollars was invested to purchase and renovate the facility, which re-opened in mid-1999.

The beautifully-remodeled theatre features a large screen, plush seating, and sound and picture far superior to most small Iowa theatres.  Arrive a few minutes early to peruse the cozy lobby and grab a glass of soda and bag of popcorn to enjoy during the film.  Movie tickets are $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for youth; seniors may want to check out the Sunday matinees for the $2.00 special.

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Feature: Bijou Movie Theater (Mount Vernon, Iowa)

Bijou Movie Theater (Mount Vernon, Iowa)

A few months ago, my wife and I went with a friend to see The Final Season, a movie based on the extraordinary success of the high school baseball team in Norway, Iowa.  While the movie itself wasn’t memorable, the theatre we saw it in was.

Instead of seeing the movie in one of the cookie-cutter megaplexes in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, we opted to go to the cozy, single-screen Bijou Movie Theater, located in downtown Mount Vernon.

The lobby is small, featuring a counter where tickets and treats can be purchased all at once.  Prices for popcorn and drinks are modest, and half-price refills make the concessions even more appealing.  The owners encourage recycling, so you can even bring in your own containers to be filled for a discount.

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