Redwood Cinemas to reopen Aug. 2

After sitting vacant for 19 months, Redwood Cinemas is ready for a replay.

Jack Ondracek, who co-owns the Rodeo Drive In of Gorst with his family, will reopen the theater Aug. 2.

“We are running against somewhat of a time line,” Ondracek said. “We wanted to open before the end of the summer movie release schedule.”

Summer is typically a boom time for theaters, he added.

Ondracek has worked for a year to open the theater — securing access to first-run films, and replacing the theater’s sound system. He plans to remodel the interior, which is adorned with ‘70s decor, in the coming months.

“Most of what we’ve been doing has been with the technical side of the theater. The projection room was in bad shape,” Ondracek said.

Costs for the work, which is not complete, have run into the five-figure range, said Ondracek, who once owned the Charleston Cinema on Callow Avenue.

“We are definitely making a commitment to it,” he said.

The cinema has four auditoriums, ranging from 175-475 seats, and it will be open seven days a week.

Unlike theaters owned by corporations, a family-owned business has the latitude to get involved in the community — by sponsoring youth athletics for example, Ondracek said.

“An independent operator can be a little more flexible in how it involves itself in the community. Chain theaters tend to follow a formula that applies to the whole chain,” Ondracek said.

“You won’t get ripped at the snack bar, either,” he added.

The theater will run mainstream Hollywood films, Ondracek said, although he did not rule out running an occasional independent film.

“In the end, it’s all about economics. The community shows it’s support by coming to watch, and what is selected will be driven in large part by what the community wants to watch,” he said.

Cheryl Ondracek, Jack’s daughter, will manage the theater. The number of employees will depend on the volume of business, Ondracek said.

Admission for adults for regular showing will be $7 — $6 with a military discount. Matinee runs will cost $5, and children ages 3-12 can enter for $4. the cinema is located on Riddell Road in the Redwood Plaza, adjacent to Chips Casino.

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