By Clare Roth
August 29th, 2015 marked the one year anniversary of the reopening of the beloved Walt Theater, located in downtown New Haven.
Known among locals for the old school atmosphere, classic art deco marquee, and cheap tickets, the Walt theater has been around since 1940, when it was opened by Walter Buchholz. The first showing was the western film “Wyoming.” Admission for kids was 10 cents; adults, 25 cents.
Brad Zobrist, the current owner, says that the Walt has been in his family since 1988.
While the Walt has always been one of the most visually attractive movie theaters around, in the summer of 2012, the old school decor came with some not-so-attractive technical problems regarding the outdated 35MM projector.
The last show with the 35MM projector was on July 22, 2012.
On August 29, 2014, the Walt Theater reopened with a new digital projector. “We always intended to reopen the Walt with updated equipment. Fortunately, the price for a new digital projector and related equipment had dropped dramatically and made it feasible to purchase,” Zobrist says.
He says that the spark to rejuvenate came from the constant positive feedback from the community, adding “people missed the Walt!”
The price for a movie ticket is $5, which is cheaper than most surrounding movie theaters. Although $5 is a bit more than what it was before the renovation, the increase helps to offset the price of the new renovations. “We think it’s a good value despite the increase. Going to the movies should be affordable and I think we help make it that way,” Zobrist says.
The Walt is doing better now than it was doing before the renovation, and for good reason. “Our crew does a great job every weekend and I think they are proud to have accomplished a full year without any major problems,” Zobrist says.
The Walt Theater books with an independent film booking agency. Since it is a “second run” theater, the movies are shown a few weeks after they’ve been put on the market. Zobrist says family films draw the most people, with the main demographic being families with young children.
“We will mix it up once in a while with a “R” rated movie, but they usually don’t do as well.”
The Walt Theater shows movies every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 pm and Sunday evening at 5:30 pm. The box office opens 30 minutes prior to the show.
Check in here at newhavenshamrocks.org each week for the weekend movie title.