STORY BY ETHAN FICKAU
There are four significant cinemas that attract residents in the Des Moines area. Those locations are the Varsity Theater next to Drake University, the Flix Brewhouse at Merle Hay Mall, the Cobblestone 9 Theater in Urbandale and the Century 20 Jordan Creek and XD Theater at Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines. These theaters often use the Drake Relays as a kick-start to the summer season.
Each of these theaters is different in its own way. The Varsity Theater prides itself on affordability. Denise Mahon owns the Varsity and she says that she loves the benefits of having the theater so close to a college campus.
“We have $5 matinees and you can’t beat that. We have a lot of staff and instructors and professors that come here on a regular basis. With students, it depends on the film. One thing that gives me real satisfaction is there has been several Saturdays where at the end of a film, they break out in applause and you can’t get better than that,” Mahon said.
The Varsity was founded in 1938. Mahon’s father bought it in 1955 and it’s been running ever since.
With the Cobblestone 9, the theater’s top priority is having a family friendly environment for people of all ages. Nick Pielak, an assistant manager at the Cobblestone 9, said that the cinema is family-oriented first and foremost, and he loves putting on special deals.
“We usually get a lot of kid movies that are targeted towards young adults or below. We do play a lot of animated movies,” Pielak said. “We also play a lot of action films but not much of the suspense or horrors. Tuesdays are our special days where all tickets are $4.25 per person and all of our combos are $5 off.
Nick Pielak said that the Cobblestone 9 has been around for about 20 years.
In regards to the two larger cinemas, The Flix Brewhouse and the Century 20 Jordan Creek, their appeal is the deals they put on for their audiences.
At Cinemark 20 Jordan Creek, moviegoers love deals such as the “Monday is Seniors Day,” the “Early Bird” and the “Tuesday Discount Day.” The Flix Brewhouse’s specials include similar versions with “Early Bird” and “Wednesday Senior Day.”
While hordes of people are racing to watch the Relays, most of those same people probably have some new releases on their personal watch list this summer.
Local theaters are looking forward to a profitable summer season this year and they attribute some of that to the audience coming to watch the Relays and later enjoy a flick.