Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Four-story screen at Wylie’s new movie theater ranks among largest in nation
The blasting sound system is the same used at Grauman's Chinese Theatre for Hollywood premieres.
WYLIE There's a new seat in town. It's large, leather, and in front of a wall-to-wall curve screen.
B&B Theatres opened its Wylie 12 with Marquee Suites on April 26. Free popcorn, dual dining, and long-awaited relief came with it.
The city gained its first movie theater in grand fashion. Marking the Dallas area's newest flick facility is its myriad viewing options, full bar, and frontal cinema onslaught.
"Our Grand Screen auditorium has a screen that's seven stories wide and four stories tall," said Chris Tickner, B&B Theatres district marketing manager. "It's one of the biggest screens in DFW and even in the nation."
Accompanying the sight is 10,000 watts of Dolby 7.1 surround sound. Typical theater sound systems range from 6,000 to 8,000 watts, Tickner said. The Grand Screen experience may measure up to just about anywhere.
"It's the same system they use at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre [for Hollywood premieres]," he said. "You feel the movie when you're watching it."
Wylie 12 is B&B Theatres' second theater in Texas, joining the Colleyville Cinema Grille with IMAX. It houses 12 stadium-seating auditoriums, four with Marquee Suite balconies at the top -- full-dining sections with leather recliners and swivel tables.
The Grand Screen auditorium fits about 420 seats, 60 of them suites. B&B Theatres has three other Grand Screens -- all at theaters in Missouri -- but the newest one tops the rest.
"This is the largest one we've ever built by about 15 to 20 feet," Tickner said. "Because everything's bigger in Texas."
Step into Wylie 12 and it's clear B&B -- also the foundation for theaters in Kansas, Oklahoma and Florida -- doesn't stand for "bed and breakfast." The letters are for Bills and Bagby, two families who joined movie forces in 1980.
Their history goes back to 1924, however, when Elmer Bills, Sr., bought the Lyric Theatre in Salisbury, Mo., according to the company's website. Twelve years later, Bills hired Sterling Bagby, who later started the Bagby Traveling Picture Show, the site says.
Thus came about the opening scene for a story that's been playing ever since. The company's extended family now includes more than 900 employees at its theaters, many in the same towns that were home to its single-screen beginnings.
B&B is now staking a claim in DFW.
"We love the Dallas market, in general, and we looked at all the different places to build in Texas," Tickner said. "Wylie is just ready for a theater; it's the right small-town feel for us because we're family owned and operated for almost 90 years strong."
Guests can pay a little extra for dinner and a movie, VIP-style. Burgers, fresh chicken tenders, and B&B's breaded fries highlight the menu. A full upstairs bar offers unique house drinks and new movie-themed cocktails every week. The latest choice is Tony Stark Whiskey Sour, named after the main character's civilian side in Ironman movies.
"For comic book lovers, they know he likes his whiskey sours," Tickner said. "You can get something new every time you come in."
Traditional movie-goers can enjoy more than Coke and Skittles from their stadium seating. The downstairs concession stand carries draft beer, and guests can order suite selections "to go" and take them back to their seats.
Last weekend, the Grand Screen rotated between Oblivion, Pain and Gain and 42. Coming up are highly anticipated flicks like Gatsby and Hangover III. Because the theater has its own large-scale format, it can play whatever it wants instead of a limited selection like at IMAX theaters.
Cinema classics will play on Retro Nights, with $5 general tickets and $10 suite tickets. Forrest Gump will be playing May 9. The theater plans to run a summer kids series, during which youngsters -- and light-hearted parents and siblings -- can watch their favorite animated films for $3 on Thursday mornings.
Their seats may not be brand-new then, but they'll still be large and leather. And in front of likely the biggest movie screen they've ever seen.
"Everyone's always trying to one-up the competition, but honestly, the main aspect is you want people to come back and really get that out-of-home experience," Tickner said. "You can't really do that on a 15- or 20-foot screen."
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News