Sidney’s Star Cinema making moves

The Star Cinema in Sidney will show the final film at its Third Street home on Sunday, as demolition of the building is scheduled for the coming week.

The building, home to the theatre since Sept. 18, 1998, will go dark following the 7 p.m. screening of Ford v Ferrari. On Monday, owners will begin moving the theatre’s contents to a new, temporary location at 9824 Fifth St., two blocks away. “We hope to be fully installed in about a week, but we can’t promise that we will be open right away,” said Star Cinema owner Sandy Oliver. “We’re expecting to be open for the holidays.”

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Construction of a new theatre at the Third Street location will soon get underway as part of a mixed-use development from Casman Properties. The Star Cinema will occupy 7,500 square feet on the main floor of the six-storey building, named The Cameo, under about 50 condominiums. The new three-screen theatre is expected to re-open in 2 1/2 years at 9842 Third St.

“The process has been a long one,” Oliver said. “We thought at one point last year we’d be closing at the beginning of July, but [Casman] had to readjust. Though not everything has gone according to plan, they have been amazing as far as their commitments to ensure everything is going ahead.”

Oliver said she’ll be sad to see the old building go after 21 years as home. The community has been supportive of Oliver’s commitment to bringing first-run films to Sidney, responding to the theatre’s need for new seating and digital projectors in 2012 by raising $185,000 to help cover costs. “It has been a very sweet experience in so many ways. We definitely owe it to our customers to try and provide whatever service we can.”

The theatre’s temporary location, in the former Sidney Buy & Sell, will have seating for more than 200 moviegoers, Oliver said.

Seating plans have not been finalized for the new theatre, but she expects it be about a total of 300 seats, roughly the same number as in the original Star Cinema. There will be one major difference, however. “Having a third screen gives us so much more opportunity to guarantee all the great films that we want to play, but also those little gems that we love to have that become a problem when you want to also give people first-run experience.”

A remake of Little Women, whodunit Knives Out and thriller Dark Waters are among the movies the Star Cinema will screen in the coming weeks at the temporary location, Oliver said.

New landlord Stephen Weller has been a big help through the process, she said, one of the many Sidney residents who have pledged their support to the Star Cinema as it changes locations. “Without a doubt, our community has rallied behind us all the way,” Oliver said. “I hardly go a day without getting a hug from someone who says they love what we do. It really is an incredible blessing to work at a place people appreciate so much. It’s astounding.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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