Stillwater left rundown and outdated soda machines and more in the past.
AMC Stillwater 10, formerly Carmike Cinemas, is updating its facility after switching owners. The sign was outdated, the concession stand had stains and cracks, and some seats in the theaters were coming apart at the seams.
On March 3, 2016, AMC Theatres announced it was buying Carmike Cinema shares and entering a defensive merger with the company. The transaction was valued at $1.1 billion. Carmike theatres across America have switched over for the past year; the business deal in Stillwater has been underway since December, but the remodeling did not start until the beginning of April.
The Carmike Cinema sign has been covered up, and changes are already noticeable.
Kimberly Sanden, the corporate communications coordinator for AMC Theatres, said the project should be done by June.
Kelby Hern, a finance junior at Oklahoma State University, said he is excited for the changes Sanden said will come. Hern said when he walked into the AMC on Friday, he immediately noticed a difference. He said he knew Carmike Cinema was bought out, but he did not think much about it. Hern said upon entering, he knew the transition would be huge for Stillwater.
“Stillwater has a stigma sometimes that it’s old and not cool,” Hern said. “Now we have a real, nice movie theater. It’s putting us on the map and improving the stereotype we have.”
Hern said he thought the old theater was sad as if it had not been improved in 10 years and felt dirty.
There is now a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which allows moviegoers to choose from hundreds of different flavor options. He said they had touch screens with several flavor options.
Some residents might be wondering why their theater is changing. Sanden said the necessity of switching theater companies was essential for Stillwater. The new theater will play a larger variety of movies and have a RealD 3D theater room, Sanden said. She said AMC Theatres is not stopping at Stillwater; the company plans to acquire all Carmike Cinemas.
“We are going to move forward with our plan to grow AMC,” Sanden said. “Carmike is a good venture for us, and we hope to someday completely buy them out. Stillwater is just one.”
Kelsey Albertson graduated from OSU last year and went to see “Beauty and The Beast” with her friend Thursday. Albertson said she goes to the movies at least once a month and she immediately noticed some of the changes.
“The new theater is very clutch for the popping corn,” Albertson said. “Like I literally love it. I can’t wait for it to be completely done.”
The new theater has a butter station that allows customers to add butter, salt and cheddar flavoring to their popcorn.
Albertson said the new Icee machine works better than the previous one in Carmike Cinema and she heard from a friend the theater might get recliner seating.
Albertson said the small differences are making her excited for the bigger ones to come. She said she thinks the customer service and management have improved, as well.
“I already love it, and it’s not even done yet,” Albertson said.