Looking back on a Provo staple

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Sarah Strobel
Provo Movies 8, or more commonly called “the dollar theater,” is a popular and inexpensive date idea. It is now an established entertainment staple of the Provo/Orem area.

Provo’s Cinemark Movies 8, or “the dollar theater,” as it is often referred to by students, has been a staple of BYU life for many years, and brings back memories for current and former students.

According to Alaina Meehin, the executive assistant of marketing and communications at Cinemark, the theatre opened on Oct. 7, 1988, and has always offered its tickets at a discounted rate.

Glenn Pratt, a BYU staff member, was 10 years old at the time and can still remember the excitement of the opening. He recalled how excited he was with the free merchandise branded with Cinemark’s feline mascot “Front Row Joe.”

“It was a really big event,” Pratt said. “I remember there were tons and tons of people.”

Airing movies such as “Joe vs. the Volcano” and “Short Circuit,” the theater became hugely popular among students.

“It was the place to go,” Pratt said. “The only other movie theater around was the Carmike, and it was only a four screen. [Cinemark Movies 8] was the biggest and the first dollar theater that was around.”

When Pratt was 16 he got a job as an usher at the theater and eventually worked his way up to projectionist. He also got to put the movies together.

“The movies would come in in these little cartons, and then you would pick a couple trailers to put on and the little Front Row Joe thing, and you would splice it all together and then put it on the reel,” Pratt said.

Though the layout of the theater has changed, the theater still has arcade games available. The games have changed over the years. The popular games Pratt remembers were games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Street Fighter.

According to Pratt, back when the theater only charged a dollar per ticket, the theater only made 5 cents per ticket purchased, with concessions being the main driver of profits. The theater currently charges $1.50 for matinee shows and $2 for evening shows, with discounts for students and Tuesday night showings.

The theater has remained a popular place for students to see movies for cheap. “The discount pricing is very attractive to the demographic of the Provo/Orem area with the larger families and university students of BYU and UVU,” Meehin said.

“It’s the dollar theater. What’s not to love?” said Katheryn Christensen, a junior majoring in elementary education.

The theater has made changes to ensure it creates a good experience for its customers.

“We have always tried to price the tickets so everyone can see a movie in the comfort of a theater,” Meehin said. “Over the years we have maintained a clean facility and recently have upgraded the seats and added digital projection.”

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