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Dave Olson, Published April 02 2014

Movie house makeovers: Marcus Theatres adds new seats, fresh paint to its F-M cinemas

FARGO - Two Fargo movie theaters are getting major makeovers.

That means improved big screens for Century Cinema and West Acres Cinema and seating upgrades for all of the theaters in both movie houses, some of which will get DreamLoungers, large reclining chairs that moviegoers will be able to adjust electronically.

Below is a breakdown of what’s happening at the cinemas, both of which are owned by Marcus Theatres.

The details come from Bob Menefee, vice president of marketing and communications for Marcus Theatres:

Century Cinema

The current big screen at Century Cinema, located at 3931 9th Ave. S.W., has just been converted to an Ultra Screen DLX with Dolby Atmos Sound.

That auditorium and all of the other auditoriums at Century Cinema are getting new DreamLounger chairs.

According to Menefee, the chairs allow for full reclining, “Just like you’d have at home.”

The size of the DreamLoungers mean each auditorium at Century Cinema will see its seating capacity drop by about 40 percent, but Menefee said the popularity of the chairs should keep auditoriums full.

The Ultra Screen DLX auditorium is set to open Friday.

The remaining chair replacement work is expected to be completed by the end of April.

In addition to those improvements, Century Cinema will get a complete interior and exterior update, meaning new paint, finishing and flooring.

It also will get a new vending stand for concessions and treats, including a self-serve soda stand, “Which is unique in movie theaters,” Menefee said.

According to building permit information on file with the city of Fargo, work associated with the Century Cinema project is valued at $1.2 million.

West Acres Cinema

West Acres Cinema’s current Ultra Screen will be replaced with a new Ultra Screen DLX similar to the one at Century Cinema. It also will get the Dolby Atmos digital sound system.

West Acres Cinema is located at 4101 17th Ave. SW.

The Ultra Screen DLX auditorium at West Acres Cinema will get DreamLoungers, while all of the other auditoriums at West Acres Cinema will have their current seats replaced with new, larger seats, though they’re not as large as the DreamLounger.

Like Century Cinema, West Acres Cinema will get a complete interior and exterior makeover.

Work at West Acres Cinema is getting underway and it is expected to be completed by the end of May.

According to information from the city of Fargo, work planned for West Acres Cinema is valued at about $700,000.

As part of its makeover of the West Acres Cinema, Marcus Theatres is pursuing a liquor license for the site. If approved, the company plans to build a Take Five lounge where adult beverages would be served.

When the idea for a theater drinking lounge was discussed earlier this year at a liquor control board meeting, a number of city officials and city residents expressed doubts about the plan.

Menefee said if the lounge plan is approved, West Acres Cinema also will get a Zaffiro’s Express, a small restaurant that will serve pizza, sandwiches, salads and desserts.

Marcus Theatres plans to put Zaffiro’s Expresses in 20 locations, some of which already are in place, according to Menefee.

According to the city of Fargo, Marcus Theatres’ application for a liquor license was received March 27.

The request will go before the city liquor control board April 16 and then to the city commission April 28.

Safari Theater

Last year, Marcus Theatres indicated the Safari 7 Cinema, located at 925 30th Ave. S., in Moorhead, was up for sale.

The theater shows second-run movies on 35mm film at discounted prices.

Marcus Theatres was looking to sell the property because it did not want to incur the cost of upgrading the theater to show movies in digital format.

At present, the property is not for sale, and Marcus Theatres is in the process of reviewing possible enhancements for the theater, Menefee said

However, he said he was not at liberty to talk about what those improvements may entail.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555