Marble Falls movie theater’s original owner back with ‘state-of-the-art’ plans

Marble Falls movie theater changes hands

A Cinergy Entertainment Group marquee will replace the ShowBiz Cinemas sign after the two groups recently reached a mutual agreement. Cinergy Entertainment, which owns the building, opened Driftwood Cinema at the 2600 U.S. 281 location about 17 years ago before leasing the venue to ShowBiz Cinemas in 2008. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The original owner of the Marble Falls multiscreen movie theater is returning for the sequel.

Cinergy Entertainment Group Inc. is taking over the ShowBIz Cinemas location at 2600 U.S. 281, both groups recently announced.

Jeff Benson, founder and chief executive officer of Cinergy Entertainment Group, and Rob Warnes, chief operating officer of ShowBiz Cinemas, said the two groups reached an agreement earlier in the week that paves the way for Cinergy to be the movie entertainment center in Marble Falls.

Benson opened the Marble Falls theater in 2003 as Driftwood Cinema. In 2008, he leased the building to ShowBiz Cinemas, which had operated it until it was closed recently due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re excited to have it back,” Benson said. “From Blanco to Spicewood to Llano and Lampasas, they all come 30 or 40 miles. There’s only one (movie house) in that part of the Hill Country.”

As part of the agreement, ShowBiz Cinemas is leaving much of the equipment in place so, when the theater can reopen, Cinergy Entertainment won’t miss a beat.

“It was a nice way to finish it out,” ShowBiz’s Warnes added.

Benson said he plans to make improvements, including expanding the food and beverage offerings and revamping the screening rooms with reclining chairs as well as tables so people can dine as they watch movies.

“We’ll bring the food to your seat,” Benson said. “It’s a much better experience. We’re going to make it a state-of-the-art experience.”

Cinergy operates facilities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, and Copperas Cove. Offering movies is only one part of the Cinergy experience. Some locations have axe-throwing, escape rooms, and bowling.

As for when the Marble Falls theater will reopen, that depends on the state government’s stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

If restrictions are eased but not lifted, Warnes and Benson are bracing for at least another month before the theater can reopen. And, even then, the business might be required to follow social-distancing protocols.

Another hiccup for all theaters comes from Hollywood. Filmmakers and distributors have indicated they will push back the release dates for some summer blockbusters due to delays caused by the pandemic.

Some theaters are looking at other options, including family films and classics.

Benson noted his kids would enjoy seeing the original “Jurassic Park” (1993) and the blockbuster hit “Top Gun” (1986), even though they’ve watched them on smaller screens many times.

“We look forward to reopening as quickly as we can,” Benson said. “People will want to be out of the house, even if they’re watching the original ‘Top Gun.’”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

6 thoughts on “Marble Falls movie theater’s original owner back with ‘state-of-the-art’ plans

  1. Dear Cynergy,
    I am so disappointed in the plan to install the over-priced reclining sears into the theater in Marble Falls. This puts movie prices out of bounds for many rural families. If I wanted to be in a recliner, I would stay home to watch a movie.
    Improving/repairing the seating would be great and improve the movie watching experience. Improving the food choices would be appreciated, too, but with reasonable prices. Please don’t “mess” with the popcorn as it has always been great (pop-o-holic review). Please evaluate and understand your audience and their movie viewing needs. I feel we can work together to make you a profit. Also, you might want to delay your planned changes till this CoVid19 thing has passed as it is much easier for your emplyees/viewers to wipe down arm rests than for your staff to go through wiping down tables, recliners AND sweep out the spilled popcorn (criminal!). Also (I will get off my soapbox soon), I get so frustrated that the impulsivity is taken out of going to the movies by having to make reservations to get the seats I would prefer to sit in. I can easily get to a movie 30 minutes early (being able to watch the ads and the previews) and get my preferred seats than to plan several days ahead of time to pay and reserve them, with the opportunity to walk in late (so rude!) knowing my seat is saved. I am stepping down now.

  2. Great finally some improvements to the theater. One big improvement that would be great would be a imax experience.

  3. I almost only strictly go every Tuesday for the discount movies. I hope that keeps happening. All the improvements sound great. However, there is nothing I love more than a good deal. Last year I bought the refillable buckets and cup, and got my money’s worth. I bought one at the beginning of this year and hope that I can keep on using it at least until the end of the year as promised. If you decide on not offering that for next year, that’s fine. And lastly, I appreciate the food. I’ve been to other cinemas where food is taken to you and it’s cool. But I’m there to watch a movie, not have dinner. At most it’ll be nice to have my discount dollar hot dogs taken to me.

  4. All Great Comments! Remember when remodeling, this is the Hill Country aka small town with little money. If we want to go to the big Cinemas we would go to Austin area. Updating the theater is a must, but most people are not going to fill the seats all the time. We have the lakes. Just my opinion.

  5. Today when I looked at the Showbiz website and saw the Marble Falls location gone I was soooo disappointed. I am relieved to hear that we are not losing our theater. However, I agree with David. I always go to the matinees or Tuesday discount night. $5 is the best deal around. With the multiple theaters there are usually enough choices, that I go nearly once a week and $5 is much more affordable than Austin-area matinee prices. And being able to earn points towards a free movie is an added bonus. I also bought the refillable popcorn and drink containers this year and have obviously gotten barely 3 months use from them. With Covid and extra precautions, I’m not sure how you can safely use the refills, but I sure would like to see a compromise.

  6. Glad you are putting in the new seats the ones there now are not at the right level if someone tall sits in front of you, you can see there head. If your seats will be placed like Cinemark they will be great. I also like reserving my seat online if you go that route.

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