Movie theater audiences have been shrinking across the country. Theaters are competing with home-entertainment options, from streaming films and programs to video games.
To draw people back, Cinemark, which owns the two Century Theatres in Sioux Falls, is investing $500,000 in a new auditorium that promises to provide a whole new film experience.
There's a lot of upheaval going on in an auditorium at Cinemark Century Stadium 14 and it's not part of a movie, but rather a plot to get more people into the theatres.
"So the ceiling here is 28 feet, so we're going to have about a 26 foot screen," Jason Crain of Beckman Construction said.
Crain has a big job to fill in a short amount of time.
"You've got all the trades you'd have in any normal remodel that might take four or five months, and it's compressed into five weeks. So it's an excessive amount of coordination we have to do with all the trades," Crain said.
Five weeks until the new Cinemark Extreme Digital, or XD Theater, is ready for movie goers. Everything inside the auditorium is being taken out and replaced with high-tech, high definition equipment.
The sound system, we're going from 20 speakers to 60, so it's a pretty significant upgrade to the sound and the image," Crain sad.
The wrap-around sound, a wall-to-wall screen with brighter projection and new luxury seats is designed to draw in audiences.
"You can watch a movie anywhere, but you can't have the movie experience anywhere but here," Crain said.
There will be about 15 fewer seats in the auditorium once the remodel is complete. XD tickets will also be more expensive than general admission of $8.75. The jury is out on whether people will pay more for the experience.
The XD auditorium will be ready for its first showing; the new Denzel Washington movie, The Equalizer, on September 26.
Cinemark has turned about 80 auditoriums in its 350 theaters across the country into XD. Depending on the success of the XD concept here, it could convert an auditorium at its Dawley Farm theaters as well.