New life: Carmike Cinema finds market niche

Sometimes the Hook blows it, and when that happens, we try to do everything we can to correct that mistake. So, after accidentally publishing an outdated review of the Carmike theater in our Annual Manual, we decided to check it out for ourselves. We were impressed.

The bright marquee lights on the front of the Carmike Cinemas behind Albemarle Square are enticing, but it’s the sign below the lights that has been steadily drawing moviegoers since last November.

“All seats, all shows $1.50.”

When Raymond Kilburn took over as manager in the fall of 2012, the theater switched from first-run, full-price movies to second-run, discount films, which have already been shown in traditional big box theaters. The movies usually make it to Carmike about four to eight weeks after their premiere. Kilburn, who is also an artist, wanted to spread the word about the discount theater after making the switch.

“We’ve had great responses from people,” Kilburn says. “They want us to stay around as long as possible.”

With low ticket prices and affordable concessions, the theater provides customers an alternative to the pricey, albeit brand new stadium-seated Regal 14 at the Stonefield shopping center.

“Regal is top dog in the movie theater world,” Kilburn says. “It’s just a lovely theater. But here you can but a movie ticket, popcorn and a drink for the cost of just a ticket over there.”

Ticket prices haven’t been the only change at Carmike.

“I’ve been putting my low budget into cosmetic renovations,” Kilburn says, adding that the building was built in the early ‘90s. The result is a sparkling lobby, clean bathrooms and comfortable seats. And with digital technology the movies are clear and high-definition.

Kilburn’s plan of appealing to budget conscious teens and college students appears to be working as a showing for a 7pm screening of Man of Steel on a Monday drew around 40 viewers, many of them young adults.

Sara Weintraub, a rising third year at UVA, says she’s been to the theater a couple of times this summer and plans to keep it up.

“You can’t beat $1.50 movies,” Weintraub says with a laugh. “I’m definitely going to come back during the semester.”


I like going there, $1.50 is an excellent deal and a water and popcorn are another $5 or so, or sometimes I just get the ticket. I was there 3 or 4 Saturdays ago and there was a long line, perhaps for Fast and Furious 6.

Going to the Carmike is comfortable. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the Regal. I don't mind waiting a month or so to see most movies. I have noticed some changes at the Carmike; all for the better. I hope they stay around for a long time.

The Carmike had to be built in the early 1980s. That's where I saw Terms of Endearment (1983) and Out of Africa (1985).

You are mistaken Jenny. Carmike wasn't built until the early 90s. Perhaps you are thinking of Regal Cinema 4, which was behind Kmart and recently torn down.

Amazing - before Stonefield was built, all people did was complain about NOT having a modern movie theater to go, it's too pricey. Guess what? Charlottesville developers don't build anything that's not pricey. Carmike doesn't spend any money on their buildings. I bet the original orange carpet is still in there and probably has "dirt paths" burned into it. Anybody remember Greenbrier Twin? At least the carpets were clean there, but the 35MM scratches were a bit of a turn off on a weathered film print. Hmmm. Imagine what the rent is at Stonefield. The cost to operate there is 10X more than other local theaters.

As long as you're married. (To him)

You fill in the line

Then she can have my head legally, unless Kenny Boy wants to throw me in the hooskal after the fact instead of before it!

At least that's what my friends tell me.

We'll be getting along just fine before too long, I promise

I'll drive her crazy. And nobody can deny.

Is it any easier being the Antichrist (in place of Christ) than Jesus Christ? I mean, we both get killed. I get my head chopped off and suffer eternal torment, Jesus has a more painful death but He gets to enjoy eternity in Heaven. And He never got forcibly drugged or electroshocked in His lifetime, whereas I did (I'm pretty sure, anyway). I spend more time in confinement in this life and in Hades. Plus we both get mind fucked hardcore and set up (to degrees which remain to be seen) by the government, we both worry constantly about losing our freedom and our lives (well, I do probably more than He does, but He did have that cup moment nonetheless). And I don't even get to snort Peruvian flake all day long and fly Presidential class every single hour of every single day like some folks. It's not fair! Poor me. At least I have friends in the FBI. And in jail. (Hopefully I won't make any more, but whatever happens, Captain, as Alberto would say). Think positive! (HIV positive? Type A positive? Positive of who I am? Good greif, that's pretty hard even for myself. I'm just an ordinary guy according to the guy with the poker for a last name. (He's pretty cool but he ain't perfect either)

Just let him ramble on.

Hell no. And if I come as John the Christians won't either. I guess I should come as Tobias but if I told you about Him then you'd crucify Him and He would call me a rat. It's just not fair! I want to go to Virginia Beach but you'd throw me in the ocean with a millstone on my neck for wanking. Gee wiz, folks. Just be glad you're all normal.

At least that's what the Holy Bible says. I trust in it. So should all of you.

I want a new life and a market niche with my cammo flower pot idea. Aw, Hell!

It's no cause to hate my brother

Bella Sera

The preachers say when Christ returns Christ will be pissed off. But then Christ is supposed to be all lubby dubby in order to find faith, otherwise it's just another crazy complex. Just sayin.

Have been to the 'new' Carmike, and very much enjoyed the experience. Comfortable seats, clean theater, good popcorn, and an excellent print of the movie I went to see. Thanks for bringing a reasonably-priced alternative back to a generally over-priced town!