Whether it’s a first date, a child’s birthday, a class trip or a Christmas Day tradition, movie theaters are the backdrop for many life events.
Independently owned theaters often have that extra bit of movie magic for moviegoers, and the Miami Valley is home to several theaters cementing their place in family memories. Englewood Cinema, Gloria Theatre, Little Art Theatre, The Neon and Plaza Theatre each bring something unique to their communities. Here’s a closer look at why you should keep them on your radar for movies and more.
320 National Rd. #21, Englewood
The Englewood Cinema has a bigger theatre space and a lower rental price than many franchise theaters in the area making them a frequent spot for field trips for schools in the Miami Valley. The theatre has even hosted screenings for middle school students who couldn’t attend annual Washington, D.C. trips. Affordability is right at the center of the theatre’s mission, said owners Cory and Alyssa Floyd.
“A family of five can still come see a movie and get snacks for less than $50. That’s something,” Alyssa Floyd said.
Keeping the moviegoing experience cheap is a nod to both the owners’ childhoods when attending movies was more of a rarity and also a thank you to the community for supporting a local business. The low ticket prices don’t come at the expense of quality, according to Cory Floyd who said they keep Englewood Cinema personable and welcoming. They remember faces, family stories and concession orders, and they said they can tell that means a lot to their customers.
The Floyds also said their theatre is a family tradition for many. They have been told by guests how Englewood Cinema was destination for their first movie as kids and they wanted to bring their own kids back to share that same memory.
The theatre will show “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” April 5-9. On Friday night, guests are encouraged to dress in costume for the movie and in pajamas for the Saturday evening shows.
Tickets are $5 per person and $3.50 on Tuesdays. For more showtimes, movie offerings and events, visit https://englewoodcinema.com/.
The Gloria Theatre
216 S Main St., Urbana
The Gloria Theatre, managed by the Grandworks Foundation, is undergoing the final part of a three-stage renovation. After the transformation, the theatre will have a new cafe next to the lobby, a balcony for more seating and other additions to enhance the theatre experience. The Gloria standouts as a hybrid theatre, offering both a movie theatre and a live theatre in one historic Urbana location.
According to Staci Weller, CEO of Grandworks, the Gloria likes to make an experience out of moviegoing. Volunteers working at the theatre dress in-theme for some screenings, including dressing as conductors for “The Polar Express” in December and plan to don Mario mustaches and glasses for its upcoming showings of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” A Mario mascot will also be at the theatre for some of the showings.
“Our focus is on creating a family-friendly atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and this carries over to our programming choices,” Weller said. “We are always pleased to talk to patrons about what is happening at the theatre regarding renovations as well as upcoming events, and we have literature displayed in the lobby that addresses both.”
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” will be shown at the Gloria Theatre beginning at 6:30 p.m. on April 7. The Stars on Stage concert series starts on April 22 at the Gloria Theatre, which will host six touring artists and comedians. The first show in this series will be country music duo The Wildcards.
Movie tickets are $8 for general audiences and $7 for matinee; seniors and children 11 and under are $7 and matinee shows for those groups is $6. Tickets for live performances vary by show. For more showtimes, movie offerings and events, visit https://gloriatheatre.org/.
Little Art Theatre
247 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs
Credit: Little Art Theatre Facebook
Credit: Little Art Theatre Facebook
For close to 100 years, the Little Art Theatre has been at the center of Yellow Springs, according to the theatre’s executive director Katherine Eckstrand. It sits right in the middle of the village, but also is culturally prominent in the community for its screening of independent, classic, first-run and foreign films.
“The historic marquee outside, the warmth of the red-brick lobby, the intimacy of the theatre and the beauty of the iconic murals over the house lights immediately draws people in and makes them feel part of a unique community,” Eckstrand said. “It is an atmosphere that is not present in chain theatres.”
Through what is projected on screen at the Little Art, the theatre has addressed difficult topics and also given opportunity to local performers and filmmakers. In partnering with Miami Valley non-profits including Tecumseh Land, NAMI-YS, WYSO, Project 365 and the Dayton Jewish Film Festival, the Little Art has been able to showing important documentaries for the community, Eckstrand said.
“We have become known as the best place to watch a movie together because we believe that the simple act of watching a movie together in an intimate, hometown, single screen setting has the power to connect people and build community in ways that can’t be replicated at large multiplexes.” Eckstrand said. “By creating shared experiences, we believe we foster understanding and community cohesion — one movie at a time.”
The Little Art will screen “Air” from April 7-17 and has a lineup of classic baseball movies showing every Thursday at 7 p.m. in April, including “The Sandlot,” “A League of Their Own,” “Field of Dreams” and “Major League.”
Tickets are $9 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, students, military and children, and $7 for everyone on Monday nights. For more showtimes, movie offerings and events, visit https://www.littleart.com/.
130 E 5th St., Dayton
The Neon, with its brightly painted theatre front, stands out on the corner of Fifth Street and Patterson Boulevard in downtown Dayton. It also stands out from big franchise theatres by highlighting international and independent films and hosting film festivals.
“We’re a venue that utilizes the cinematic arts to propel the missions of numerous non-profits and grassroots organizations throughout the Miami Valley,” said Neon manager Jonathan McNeal. “We’re a space that celebrates the talents of local filmmakers, and we’re a gathering space for people who are interested in thought-provoking, multi-cultural and diverse programming.”
Part of the care and character of The Neon is its curated selection of films. McNeal said that while major blockbuster movies — good and bad — will get their theatrical runs at big franchise theaters, the Neon vets what goes up on its big screens.
“Thousands of independent films are made every year, and only a percentage of those end up making it to festivals,” McNeal said. “Of those films, only a percentage get picked up for distribution, and of those films, we hand-select our engagements.”
Playing at the Neon April 7-9 is “Air” with showtimes at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The theater is also offering a single screening of “Little Richard: I Am Everything” April 11 at 7:30 p.m. The Big Lens Film Festival on April 27 will showcase thesis films from Wright State University students. On April 30 the Neon will screen Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in a presentation by London’s National Theatre that has been seen by over 900,000 people worldwide.
Tickets for regular showings are $10.50 for adults and $8.50 for matinee shows, children and seniors. For more showtimes, movie offerings and events, visit https://www.neonmovies.com/.
33 S. Main St., Miamisburg
Over a century ago, the historic Plaza Theatre began screening movies for the Miamisburg community. For three decades beginning in the late ‘60s, the theatre pivoted to a western retail store. After sitting vacant for over a dozen years, the building was restored and reopened as the Plaza Theatre once more on Christmas Day in 2015.
“We try to be a destination for folks who want entertainment in downtown Miamisburg area,” said Chris Sedlak, executive director of the Plaza Theatre. “We appreciate our guests, and we listen to what they want see at the Plaza. Plus, we try to provide an experience to anyone who comes to the Plaza or the downtown Miamisburg area. I think that is what people are looking for when they walk into the Plaza.”
The Plaza serves its community, but it is also served by its community. Concessions, the box office and theatre preparation are all manned by community volunteers taking shifts. Volunteers, combined with theatre staff, go above and beyond to run the venue and bring movies to the big screen for Miamisburg, Sedlak said.
The Plaza Theatre will screen “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” beginning April 7, with two showtimes at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The theatre will hold its second 25-Cent Saturday on May 13 when it will offer a matinee for just a quarter.
Tickets for regular showings are $5 per person. For more showtimes, movie offerings and events, visit https://www.myplazatheatre.com/.