LeFont raising star article
CINEMA IN SUBURBIA m (!!! I! r n a a O n . mm Am J till. li I 1 K.-r-V K.-r-V K.-r-V K.-r-V K.-r-V By Mark Binelli FOR THE JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION ly j n et's begin with an unlikely unlikely image,: art cinema sultan George Le-font, Le-font, Le-font, sipping coffee at Rocco's Pub. The Marietta sports bar known for serving up "the best chili in Georgia" at least, according to the sign on the front window becomes a neighbor neighbor to the theater-owner's theater-owner's theater-owner's first foray into suburbia with today's grand opening of the Marietta Star Cinema. Located at 1355 Roswell Road, across the street from Harry's Farmers Market in the Town & Country shopping plaza, the Marietta Marietta Star will feature second-run second-run second-run films at a reduced admission: $1 before 6 p.m., $1.50 after 6. As added incentive for moviegoers, free soft drinks will be included with popcorn purchases through the end of June. This week's films are "Pulp Fiction," "Outbreak," "Little Women" and "The Brady Bunch Movie." "It looks like an Olympic project project around here," admitted Le-font Le-font Le-font during a tour, late last week, of the sull-in-shambles sull-in-shambles sull-in-shambles sull-in-shambles sull-in-shambles theater. The 40-year-old 40-year-old 40-year-old 40-year-old 40-year-old movie house, a simple, single-story single-story single-story building hidden hidden in a far corner of the plaza, was known as the Town & Country Theater before closing last fall. " p i i . - - - i vv ' . V -"-'" -"-'" -"-'" -"-'" r ' ''V " - " , . -. -. " ' ; ... i V ' v t :S I :".- i: ' ', ! -.r -.r i i lv ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- : ;j i 4 ; The previous owners gutted the : place, leaving Lefont with quite a renovation job. "We're putting in new seats, drapes, projection equipment, everything everything from soup to nuts," said the black-clad, black-clad, black-clad, 20-year 20-year 20-year theater vet, who might've looked more at home at a German expressionist film festival than amid the grinding, grinding, pounding chaos of builders scrambling to make a deadline. The 13,000-square-foot 13,000-square-foot 13,000-square-foot 13,000-square-foot 13,000-square-foot build- build- , ing houses three theaters, one at 450 seats an average size for a theater today, according to Lefont and two at 220 seats. Lefont also , owns the Garden Hills Cinema and the Screening Room, both specializing in art films, and the reduced-admission reduced-admission reduced-admission Plaza Theatre; all three theaters are located in- in- ' town. "Other people in the industry were a little puzzled, because my theaters have been so associated with Midtown and Buckhead," said Lefont of his newest location. "But I was looking at a number of locations in Cobb and elsewhere Fulton, DeKalb and I thought this was a great area." Lefont said the Marietta Star will show a mixture of family-oriented family-oriented family-oriented family-oriented features, mainstream crowd-pleasers crowd-pleasers crowd-pleasers and more special Mil Photos by DWIGHT ROSS JR. Staff Signmaker Walter Komar (left) puts finishing touches on signage at Marietta Star Cinema. Above, theater owner ; George Lefont (left) talks with Steve Newton, president of Cine Vision, which provides equipment to theaters. ized art films "that might not be chosen to play in Cobb County" for example, the upcoming "Heavenly Creatures," an acclaimed acclaimed drama about a pair of murderous New Zealand schoolgirls. Of course, there will be limits. "Russ Meyer's not on my schedule," schedule," said Lefont with a laugh, referring referring to the breast-obsessed breast-obsessed breast-obsessed cult filmmaker who recently appeared appeared at Garden Hills. Back at Rocco's, co-owner co-owner co-owner Mindy Ciorrocco stops by Le- Le- j- j- ( font's table to ask about the ' scheduled opening. ' "Fifteen years ago, the lines would go all the way back to the parking lot," she said, peering V -out -out the window at the covered ; walkway leading past her bar to the theater. l Added Lefont hopefully: ; "Maybe they'll come back." I ' Mark Binelli is an Atlanta-based Atlanta-based Atlanta-based free-lance free-lance free-lance writer.