Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

March 24, 2011 at 11:12am

Newly renovated, McChord Theater open again

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Going to the movies nowadays can be expensive. A family of four can spend on average at the movie theaters about $70 for tickets, popcorn and soda, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Joint Base Lewis-McChord families not wanting to shell out a ton of money to have an enjoyable movie-watching experience need look no further than the newly renovated and open McChord Theater on McChord Field.

The theater has a distinct advantage going for it - all movies are free. Operated by the McChord Community Center staff, the McChord Theater shows free movies at 4 and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Popcorn, candy and soda are available for purchase, and popcorn is the most expensive item on the list - $1.50.

"Our movies are free, and that's unheard of," said Erika Scott-Small, a recreational aide and theater manager with the Community Center.

Building 742 houses the one screen, 300-plus seating capacity theater. Closed until earlier this month for renovations, the cinema house now boasts new paint, new blue paneling and trim and new carpeting in the foyer. Not many people attended the weekend showings prior to the renovation, but since it's reopened, word is getting out, Scott-Small said.

Two weeks ago, about 60 people showed up for the premiere of "Tron: Legacy" during a Saturday evening show, and 50 servicemembers and their families came to McChord last Saturday to see "Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." Saturdays have PG through R rated movies, she said, and Sunday is family day, so children can come to G or PG movies.

Concessions pay for themselves, as the profits from M&Ms, Oreo cookies or Airhead candies purchased at the theater go back into the fund to buy more candies.

"People just can't believe the deal they get at our theater," Scott-Small said.

The movies are sent out from AAFES across the Air Force. The Saturday movies are a little older than what can be found at Carey Theater on JBLM Lewis-Main, and that's because Carey charges a bargain $1 admission and McChord does not, Scott-Small said.

Sunday movies are typically more current because Scott-Small picks the children's movies directly from her own library. She only chooses films that she deems appropriate for her 3-year-old son, Brandon. For example, Child, Youth and School Services are seeing "MegaMind" in the theater Sunday; both for their movie-watching enjoyment and to be exposed to the small film house.

"With the weather the way it has been, it's nice to be indoors, doing something free, where you can bring the whole family," she said.

For more information on movie show times, visit the McChord Theater website at or call 982-0718.

Visit the base theater on Jackson Blvd., across from the Chapel Support Center.

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