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On Aug. 12, Duane Black took off his hat as the theater manager at the Amigo Theater and put on a hard hat to help complete a total remodeling of the facility. Today, he switches back as the new Bemidji Theatre re-opens with a totally new look. (Monte Draper/Bemidji Pioneer)

Remodeled movie house opens in Bemidji

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BEMIDJI -- The Amigo Theater has retired. The newly remodeled on U.S. Highway 2 West is now the Bemidji Theatre

The movie theater closed for remodeling Aug. 12 to increase from nine screens to a 10-theater complex.

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"People will really like the theater," said manager Duane Black. "It's a well deserved update. It was a long time coming,"

Black said lobby area is considerably larger and the 72-foot concession area will help streamline congestion-three times larger. A time-saver will be the self-serve pop machines, he said.

With the closing of the Amigo, the intent was to reopen on Thanksgiving. But because of the popularity of the movie "New Moon" Black changed the opening date. Tickets will be on sale at noon today. The first movie will be screened at 4:15 p.m. Black said seven of the 10 theaters will have showings this weekend.

According to Greg Carter, Cinema Entertainment Corp. operations manager, all 10 theaters will have high-back rocker seats with cup holders. Each theater features wall-to-wall screens in each theater, and almost all have curved screens.

"The curved screens put even lighting from corner to corner, much better quality," said Black.

"We've made so many updates the entire complex has a new feel," said Carter.

There were many challenges with a published opening, Black said. He said they didn't anticipate so many back orders, and he assumed, with the recession, nobody was stock piling materials, such as for the seats. Black pointed out the special fireproof fabric on the theater walls.

""It's not the true color we ordered," he said. "That got held up by a typhoon somewhere, so we scrambled to get what we have."

In spite of a few changes, Black said he is happy with the remodel, 90 percent of which was completed by local trades.

"Many days we've had over 100 people working here at once to make this opening," he said. "It's been some long days, but I'm excited to see the staff back too work."

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