Cinema opening one month away |

Cinema opening one month away

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Frank Vega moves a JBL loudspeaker system into the cinema Monday.

In time for holiday blockbusters, the Heavenly Village Cinema will open on Dec. 17. And this time, the date reportedly is as firm as one’s grip on the armrest during a horror movie.

Following a handful of delays, workers on Monday wheeled giant speakers into the building along Heavenly Village Way, marking a transformation for movie entertainment on the South Shore.

The stadium seating has been placed in two theaters, but the 8-plex cinema operators still have a solid month of work left to go.

The price of ground-floor cinema construction comes in at about $150,000 per screen. Rocking-chair seats and cup holders on the arm rests round out little touches added by owner John Roush, an Atascadero man who started his career as a theater usher.

But the big screen experience revolves around the sound and image quality of THX.

Those associated with the $10 million theater contend the system will be like nothing South Lake Tahoe patrons have experienced.

The walls of the 35,000-square-foot facility will be so insulated, even blood-curdling screams will not be heard in the next room.

“We call that cross talk. You won’t hear it,” managing partner Jerry Herra said, surveying the job site.

Ticket prices are still undetermined. Herra simply said rates would be competitive. Operators also intend to bring a diverse cinema offering to this mountain town. Locals have long asked for alternatives to what Wallace Theater has offered at the Horizon Casino Resort.

In April 2003, Wallace, a Portland-based company, lost a court judgment against the city to build a theater at the Village Center. Instead, the city looked elsewhere and left the selection up to Gary Casteel of TransSierra Investments, which leases space to Heavenly Village retailers.

Also at Heavenly Village, the 120-by 65-foot ice arena is due to open as early as this week. The rink will rent skates seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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