New owner taking over controversial Blacksburg movie theater

Years of legal battles coming to end

By Lindsey Kennett - Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Frank Theaters' CineBowl & Grille in Blacksburg is getting a new owner, after years of controversy and legal battles.

In April 2017, there was a big lock on the theater's doors and the sign was coming down after the owners of the First & Main shopping center said Frank's fell almost $500,000 behind on the rent.
 
The CineBowl was able to get the doors back open just days later after paying $80,000, but the financial troubles weren't over.

In January, Frank Entertainment Group, the company that operated the theater-bowling alley-restaurant-arcade combo, filed for bankruptcy.
 
Seth Boehringer, 17, said the theater was always a popular spot for him and his friends to hang out: watch movies, bowl and eat food. However, he said there were management issues.

 “Sometimes, I’d be in line a long time," Boehringer said.

Virginia Tech grad Taylor Phelps said he wasn’t happy about the prices either.

“They were too expensive, so people would go elsewhere," Phelps said.

Soon, that will change. On Thursday, Florida-based company Paragon Theaters will take over the Blacksburg theater, along with several other Frank Theatres venues across the country.

The theater's new name will be Paragon First & Main.

“We want to be the entertainment destination for Blacksburg," said Paragon Theaters CEO Michael Whalen.

Paragon invested $2 million to install leather reclining seats with footrests  and it will feature a new restaurant, McClain's.

Some things will remain the same. All employees are staying on board. Paragon hopes to eventually hire more. Gift cards will also carry over.

The biggest seller for moviegoers is that movie ticket prices are dropping. Adult tickets will be $9 for matinees, $11 for regular showings and student prices will be $7.

“Oh, wow. That’s manageable," said Phelps.

"That would be a really good deal," Boehringer added.

Virginia Tech graduate Daniel Pratson is still skeptical about the new management.

“Probably because of the sketchy management," Pratson said. "That kind of turnover."

Boehringer said he's excited to sit back and see what’s in store.

"New managers, if they made that more efficient, I think it would be a great experience for everyone.”

Paragon plans to install new signs by the end of next week. Officials are also planning a big celebration at the end of the summer when students return to school.

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