UPDATE!!! The Waveland Center is still undergoing final restoration and will be opening soon! Stay posted for the latest news!!!
The Waveland Cinema that was damaged in Katrina is getting an overdue makeover and was set to open the summer of 2014. Unexpected issues popped up to delay the opening but we hear it is just around the corner! The Watzke brothers, who have renovated theaters in Florida, purchased the theater in 2013. Their dedication to the old timeless art of drive in’s and family theaters is paramount.
The Watzke brothers have spent their lives in the movie theater business. Their grandfather worked as a movie projectionist starting in 1913 and their father followed. John and Charles did stints working in the projection booth before taking a break from the industry. After moving from Bay St. Louis to Ocala, Florida, after Katrina, John Watzke along with his brother took over a deserted drive-in and renovated it. It’s one of the very few drive-ins in the country today, he said. They went on to buy and renovate a few more movie theaters for themselves and other owners. Currently, the brothers are buying seats and supplies from a Florida multiplex.
‘It’s great stuff’, says Watzke. The four renovated auditoriums each will have a different theme, including one featuring Mardi Gras. Three will have the high back seats and one will be a dine-in setting with tables that will offer pizza, burgers and sandwiches. Watzke promises “a family complex,” complete with video games for the kids.
The theater will cost approximately $200,000 to renovate plus $50,000 for each projection system. Expect to pay only about $6 per movie and $2.50 per beverage at the concession, much less than the average theater. The owners keep cost down by providing in house maintenance and bookkeeping.
“We will give them the best theater they can have there and the best movies at the lowest prices with the most reasonable concession prices in the state of Mississippi,” he said. Waveland plans to support this wonderful endeavor, desperately needing something fun for our families and kids to enjoy.