Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
James Song, owner of the 12-screen theater at Santa Fe Mall, wants to show international films but continue to show value-priced mainstream movies. Many immigrants have never experienced a movie, and Song said he wants to bring them into the theater by showing films in their native languages.
DULUTH -- An independent theater company wants to change the way Gwinnettians see movies.
Best Value Cinemas has taken over the 12-screen theater at Santa Fe Mall, a Hispanic shopping center located near Gwinnett Place Mall. The theater will continue to show value-priced mainstream movies, but it will also start playing international films, theater owner James Song said.
"We want to change to more of an international theater," said Song, vice president of the Korean-American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia. "For the Hispanic community and the Korean community, this (the Gwinnett Place area) is the center point."
Many immigrants have never experienced a movie, and Song said he wants to bring them into the theater by showing films in their native languages.
"We want people to come in and experience the movie-going experience," Song said. "We're going to concentrate on the value. ... We want to build a new experience and become a part of the community."
Foreign-language films have not been booked yet, but Song said the theater will regularly show Latino and Korean movies.
Best Value Cinemas sells tickets for $2, one penny more than the theater's former operator, Georgia Theatre Co., charged, said Ray Martin, head of operations.
But, Martin said, the movie theater has added value in many ways. Concession prices are lower, and the theater will show double features. Martin also plans to show horror movies for free on Thursday evenings.
"I just want to get people in the theater and have fun," he said. "Expect a lot of surprises when you come to the movies."
The theater will play a bigger role in the community by offering meeting space to groups and organizations.
"It's a community place, and we want people to use it," Martin said.
Song also plans to give the theater a face-lift by painting and installing new carpets.
"Within six months, you'll see a big difference," he said.
Best Value Cinemas' opening weekend started Friday. The theater is located at 3750 Venture Drive in Duluth.