The facade of Kenai’s former Regal Kambe Cinema — now known as Kenai Cinema after being purchased by Ashland, Oregon-based Coming Attractions Theatres — shows signs of impending changes on Monday, May 8, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska.

The facade of Kenai’s former Regal Kambe Cinema — now known as Kenai Cinema after being purchased by Ashland, Oregon-based Coming Attractions Theatres — shows signs of impending changes on Monday, May 8, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska.

Kenai movie theatre to see changes

Kenai’s Regal Kambe theater has changed owners — from the nationwide Regal Entertainment Group to the northwest regional chain Coming Attractions Theatres — and will operate under the name Kenai Cinema.

Coming Attractions CEO John Schweiger lives in Wasilla, where his business owns Wasilla’s Valley Cinema. He said he’s had his eye on owning a Kenai theater for a while.

“When I was looking to do my first theater in Alaska — which ended up being in Wasilla — I went to Kenai and looked around,” Schweiger said. “Kenai was always one of my targets.”

The Ashland, Oregon-based Coming Attraction Theatres operates 18 movie theaters in coastal Washington, Oregon and northern California, according to its website. The Kenai theater became the 19th after Coming Attractions bought it May 4. Schwieger said an architect is working on plans to add new screens to the theater’s existing three — the exact number to be added hasn’t been decided — and to enlarge the lobby.

In addition to the theater, Coming Attractions has bought the approximately 10,400 square-foot building next door — known as the Kenai professional building — which has long stood empty and is presently used for storage.

Schweiger said Coming Attractions will use this building for another of its business ventures: the Extreme Fun Center amusement halls that it presently operates in Wasilla and Aberdeen, Washington.

Though Schweiger said the company hasn’t decided what specific attractions will be in Kenai’s Extreme Fun Center, the Wasilla Extreme Fun Center features laser tag, bumper cars, an arcade and mini-bowling.

Schweiger said Coming Attractions focuses “on small and mid-sized markets,” and has bought eight or nine small-town theaters from Regal Entertainment, which operates about 560 theaters nationwide, including three in Anchorage, according to its website.

“In our business, you look for a market that has a need,” Schweiger said. “Being in the movie theater industry and operating in smaller communities, I saw a need. … The way I vision Regal, they go for the larger metropolitan markets, and they do it so well — look at Tikahtnu (a Regal IMAX theatre in Anchorage) and some of the other theaters they’ve acquired in the past and retrofitted. But this one, I think, fits us better than it fits them.”

This weekend was the Kenai Cinema’s first under new management, as well as opening weekend for “Guardians of Galaxy Volume 2.” Crowds showed up for the movie about an hour early after reading Regal Entertainment’s show times for the Kenai theater on listing sites such as Fandango, which did not list correct showtimes under the theater’s new schedule.

Correct showtimes for the theater can be found on Coming Attractions’ website at www.catheatres.com.

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

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