Church to open theater next month
By James Peacemaker Jr. Managing Editor
Aug 19, 2014, 10:34
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT People gather at the concession stand at the Destination Church movie theater in the Crossings shopping center.
PRINCE GEORGE — A church is getting ready to open its movie theater to the public after more than a year of planning.
Destination Church opened its second location in an old movie theater in the Crossings shopping center in September 2013.
Last week, the theater played its first movie for an audience. Four private showings of a religious-based movie were shown to packed crowds. Tickets were all snapped up in two weeks.
The showings served as a dry run for when the theater opens to the public, according to JoAnna Korkos, chief operating officer of the theater. They had to make sure ticket taking, crowd management and other things went smoothly. The two auditoriums in the theater hold about 300 people all together.
A soft opening is planned for Sept. 12 and a grand opening is set for Oct. 10.
Lead pastor Bryan Briggs said previously that the theater will be similar to the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, showing movies that have just left the larger theaters but for a lower cost.
Once the theater opens to the public, the movies that will be played here will be in line with the church’s morals but won’t necessarily be Christian movies.
“We welcome everyone here. As pastor Bryan says, it’s not about where you’ve been, it’s about where you are going,” Korkos said.
Work on getting movies playing at the location began in March.
They purchased all new digital projectors, movie screens and surround sound systems for the two theaters at the Crossings. They also had to get point of sale systems and concessions equipment like a popcorn maker and drink machines.
They hired a consultant to help them through the renovation process and buying equipment for the theater. In all they spent around $200,000 on creating the theater experience.
They also got a lot of help from volunteers. Renovations also included reupholstering the seats, new curtains to line the walls, and repainting the floors.
JoAnna Korkos, chief operating officer of the theater, shows off some of the changes.
“We are getting it all together. … We still have a few minor things to be done,” Korkos said before the first showings on Aug. 13.
The opening of the movie theater comes as Destination Church is growing rapidly.
They are planning to add a third and fourth location. One is set to open Feb. 15 in the Regal Short Pump movie theater and another is planned for the Chester area once they find a good location.
The church started in the movie theaters at Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights in February 2011. They started church services at their Crossings location in Prince George in September 2013. They now have around 2,000 followers, and they were named last year as one of the fastest growing churches in the country.
Korkos said she expects the large base of supporters will help the theater greatly.
“It’s just like any startup … getting the message out. We’ve already started getting the message out. That really helps with the word of mouth with our church,” she said.
It could also help draw customers to the shopping center not long after the largest anchor store shut its doors. Food Depot closed recently after filing for bankruptcy in June.