Cinema opens Wednesday |

Cinema opens Wednesday

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Salvador Rosga works on the installation of the stadium-style seating in the new Heavenly Village Cinema. The eight-screen theater opens Friday.

Movie buffs have argued that all they ask of theater operators is a variety of films.

The Heavenly Village Cinema hopes to deliver on that request by opening on Dec. 22 with two Golden Globe nominees – Julia Roberts’ psycho drama, “Closer,” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

As a world-renowned play that rocked London, New York and Los Angeles, the latter features such minor-key melodies as “All I Ask of You” and the self-titled score by prolific British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“Phantom” – to occupy two screens – was nominated for best musical, while “Closer” was up for the best drama award. The other movies to be shown on the remaining five screens will be announced later, cinema General Manager Sara Cook said.

When Christmas arrives, the cinema located in the Stateline-area complex will show the whimsical “Fat Albert,” thriller “Darkness” and the off-the-wall comedy “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” starring Bill Murray.

The sound and images of all the movies are billed as a treat to the senses in the THX-certified theater.

“What I noticed is these are all American movies. I’m hoping they’ll bring foreign movies,” said South Shore movie enthusiast Bill Bandes, who’s written a few letters to the editor to the Tahoe Daily Tribune on the subject. “This is probably a good start. They’ll have to feel their way. They’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.”

Operator Jerry Harrah and owner John Roush have pledged to show movies – including those that are alternative in nature – if there’s a significant enough audience to make it profitable.

Harrah and Cook were scrambling Tuesday to make the one-week deadline. She was working on hiring the 25 or so employees needed to run the theater. He was overseeing construction. Many of his subcontractors were busy installing the stadium seats in the $10 million 8-plex cinema that spans 35,000 square feet – including a concession stand featuring real butter.

Movie tickets cost $9.50 for adult general admission; $6 for seniors, children and matinees shown up through 5:30 p.m. Down the street at the Horizon Resort Casino, Wallace Theater ticket prices run $8.50 for adult general admission.

Two and a half hours of free parking have been offered in the city-run garage at Heavenly Village to accommodate movie goers. Patrons are expected to scan the bar code on the stub of their parking garage ticket at the movie theater to be validated for the free parking.

Otherwise, parking rates run $3 an hour – sold in half-hour increments.

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

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