SPRING HILL — Touchstar Cinema’s Spring Hill 8 had been showing her age, but the theater complex today is glowing with plush and pleasure. And there’s more to come.
"It was a rundown theater," said owner Bimal Dattani. The Orlando firm bought the 30,000-square-foot complex built in 1972, about 12 years ago. Since the redo began in July, the multiplex has joined the "luxury theater" movement, he said.
Power-reclining seats with swing-out tray tables have been installed. Where there once were 2,000 seats, there are now 480 seats, an indication of the replacement seats’ spaciousness. Also, retractable armrests can turn two individual seats into a loveseat for two. Even with the footrests extended, two feet of walking space between rows makes it comfortable for those already lounging.
Rich ruby curtains, sound-suppressing carpeting and wood flooring are new.
Hot foods, including chicken tenders, french fries and mozzarella sticks were added to the concession menu. Patrons can order and have them delivered within minutes to their seats.
Each auditorium features digital projection, surround sound and wheelchair slots. Closed-captioning and assisted-listening devices are available.
As Dattani said, "Why would you want to sit in economy class when you can go first class?"
Coming attractions include lobby and exterior makeovers in January, a new kitchen and full service bar in six months.
"You’ll never have to stand in line (for food and beverage)," Dattani said.
Moviegoers will be able to reserve seats online or when buying admission in the theater lobby.
"With reserved seats, we’ll be able to find you," Dattani explained, adding, "We did these upgrades in Alabama and it worked; it did phenomenal there." Touchstar owns movie complexes in Huntsville, Alabama, Orlando and Ft. Pierce in Florida.
While the Spring Hill 8 makeover represents a $2 million investment, ticket prices will remain the same. They are $3 before 6 p.m. and for children, seniors, students and military personnel; $4 for adults after 6 p.m. Art films will command $4 or $5 admission depending on the title; 3-D showings, $3.50 extra.
The modest rates are enabled by Touchstar’s movie contracting.
"We don’t get releases the first day they’re out," Dattani said, but often the first week of their showing.
People everywhere are still frequenting movie theaters, Dattani said, in spite of TV on-demand films, streaming and Netflex.
"It’s more fun to laugh with a hundred people than sit at home and laugh by yourself," he said.
Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]
Touchstar Spring Hill 8
What: Eight-screen movie theater complex
Where: 2955 Commercial Way, Spring Hill
When: 11:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. first showings, 7 p.m. last showing daily
Phones: (352) 666-6656 schedule, (352) 686-5661 manager