HONOLULU (KHON2) — New seats. New menu. New movies. And more exciting changes coming. It’s been almost four months since Consolidated Theatres at the Kapolei Entertainment Center reopened their doors to moviegoers after closing in 2020.

There’s been a steady growth in attendance. People are seeing that they’re back and better than ever — but it has been quite a journey to get there.

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When the pandemic hit in early 2020, industries across the board struggled to stay afloat, including the movie industry. The theater closed on March 17, just days before Gov. David Ige signed a statewide shutdown order and implemented the 14-day travel quarantine.

A year later, the theater opened their doors to serve as a mass vaccination site in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Kaiser spent the next few months administering nearly 40,000 doses before closing the clinic in June 2021.

“As the first theater ever in Kapolei, it was important for us to remain actively connected to the community,” said Kyler Kokubun, Consolidated Theatres Marketing & Events Manager. “What better way to be of service while closed to traditional operations than to be able to support the great work of the folks at Kaiser. Their efforts to provide vaccine clinics convenient to the westside and for Special Olympics athletes was truly inspiring.”

Kaiser Permanente COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Consolidated Theatres Kapolei, March 30, 2021.

Then on March 3, 2022, the theater finally reopened in time for the debut of THE BATMAN after going under a major renovation. There are now electric-powered recliner seats, new carpet and wall coverings, and a renovated lobby area that showcases a vibrant mural.

“In the days leading up to our grand opening, we hosted charitable preview screenings, inviting the community to enjoy family favorites,” said Kokubun. “Proceeds from these screenings and concession purchases totaling over $14,000 went to benefit Nā Kama Kai, a nonprofit that teaches youth about ocean safety, conservation and stewardship.”

Looking ahead and building off recent box office successes, Kokubun said the forecast is looking bright for the exhibitor industry overall. The resurgence of new film content as we head into the summer movie season is also a contributing factor.

Consolidated mailed residents to let them know of the concession specials in May — and over a third of them were redeemed as Top Gun: Maverick opened. With Jurassic World: Dominion roaring in and Elvis shaking things up, the theater is looking forward to continued traction.

“We’re also working to make guests aware that we have the best moviegoing prices on the island with tickets for traditional seats at just $10,” said Kokubun.

Kokubun adds that they’ll be reaching out to senior communities in the coming weeks to offer specially priced private screenings for VIP outings. Consolidated has seen a steady return of older audiences with films like Top GunMaverick performing well with those over the age of 55.

While they’re still making up for lost time to get back to pre-pandemic numbers, Consolidated has seen a great uptick in response to their family fare at Kapolei.

“The return of our beloved Keiki Film Hui series has been a hit for nearby community organizations to take advantage of as the perfect outing,” said Kokubun. “Our concession sales have also been particularly strong at this location, up 66% per person on average since the theatre reopened compared with the same time period in 2019, reflecting an appreciation for our combo values as well as our fare celebrating local flavors like our house-made musubi, saimin, and shave ice — all exclusive to this location.”

Beginning in July, the Kapolei theater will be presenting the fan-favorite Hana Hou Picture Show, a popular programming tradition offered at Consolidated Theatres Ward with TITAN LUXE for over a decade.

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Consolidated told KHON2 that they are aware of reported popcorn shortages across the nation, but their inventory is currently well-stocked due to advanced pre-ordering. They’ll continue to monitor the situation, but for now, don’t worry about missing out on your summer movie popcorn!