Big screen back on|After two-year vacancy, ‘timing was perfect’ for theater’s opening

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

A small line of people formed at the box office of Wilcox Theatres in Pemberton Square mall Friday afternoon as the first tickets were sold for the movie theater’s official opening.

“I’d be in Clinton today if I wasn’t here,” said Karen Sanders of Vicksburg, who was purchasing tickets for a 4:30 showing of “Twilight,” which premiered Friday. “The timing was perfect, and I’m just really excited that we have a theater in Vicksburg again.”

Prior to the opening of Wilcox Theatres, those who wanted to catch a movie would have to drive about 30 minutes to Clinton. Vicksburg had been without a theater since Pemberton Cinema 4 — which operated in the same location — closed in December of 2006.

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Sanders said she used to go to movies occasionally when the former theater was open, but ceased going during its last few months of operation due to fights reported outside the theater.

David Wilcox, owner of Wilcox Theatres, said he does not anticipate such problems at the new facility — which he has invested $500,000 in to renovate and refurbish the four screening rooms and lobby.

“The mall has already committed to providing additional security on the weekends, and we’ll have security in the theater as well,” said Wilcox, who also owns a theater in Bastrop, La.

In addition to the added security, Wilcox noted the theater will enforce a policy that excludes anyone under 17 from attending a movie after 9 p.m. on weekends without a parent or guardian.

Along with new seating and carpeting, renovations include the addition of DTS Surround Sound systems in all screening rooms, expanded seating areas for disabled customers and a refurbished lobby and concessions area. The theater will employ about 30 people, said Wilcox, and added the opening was running smoothly considering most of the employees have never worked in a theater.

“The customers have really been great, and they’re taking the little hiccups we have had in stride,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of time and energy to get to this point, but the popcorn is popping, the tickets are selling and I think the theater is going to be a great addition to Vicksburg.”   

Preceding Friday’s official opening was a ribbon-cutting ceremony and soft opening to benefit Haven House on Thursday evening. Tickets were sold at a discounted price for two movies, and the event raised about $200 for the local charity that aids victims of domestic abuse.

Ticket prices for movies are $5 for all tickets for matinee shows before 6 p.m., while evening shows cost $7 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12 and seniors. Along with “Twilight,” Walt Disney’s “Bolt” premiered on Friday, and “Eagle Eye” and “Igor” were also being shown.


Contact Steve Sanoski at