Known to many as the bargain second-run movie theater, Ogden 6 has been a staple for Naperville moviegoers for years. But now it’s getting a makeover and becoming a first-run theater.
“So sub-run or bargain theaters are kind of on their way and we realized that. And therefore switching our format to first-run made all the sense in the world because if we couldn’t get our films in a timely manner, like opening weekend, we would miss out a fair amount of the box office because people really do want to see it opening weekend or closest to opening weekend,” said CEO of Classic Cinemas Chris Johnson.
To make the switch, ticket prices will increase, but still maintain the affordability that the theater is known for. Adults are still $5 before 6 p.m. and all-day on Tuesdays. But after 6 p.m. tickets are $7.50. Children and senior tickets have gone up from $4 to $5.
The investment to become a first-run was in talks for a few years. But it was a needed upgrade to the auditorium seats that finally pushed Johnson to make the change – along with a million dollars of improvements throughout Ogden 6.
“So with going to new auditorium refresh, seats, then we said we’d widen the screens, we carpeted the floors, put in new aisle lighting,” said Johnson. “Probably another one of the biggest things we did was we eliminated the center aisle, which are the best seats in the house. Then we switched the aisles to the edge so we have two aisles comparatively.”
Although the new heated recliners reduced the number of auditorium seats by about 60 percent, Ogden 6 is using that change to transition to reserved seating in the near future.
“We reduced the number of seats and during a week day it’s not a big deal but on a weekend we will be selling out,” added Johnson. “So we wanted to give people the opportunity to buy their seat in advance and sit where they want to sit.”
Along with better ADA accessibility throughout the building, the outdoor box office will also be transformed into an indoor seating area, while a new concession stand will have four more stations to purchase food, drink, and tickets.
The Ogden 6 renovations will be wrapping up in the next month and the theater opens first-run movies starting on Thursday, October 4.
Upgrades that are sure to bust the box office.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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