More movie screens

July 21, 2003 11:00 pm

By MIKE MORRIS

Angels Theatre, Calaveras County's only movie house, will expand its lobby and add two screens within the coming months.

The 159-seat addition is expected to mean the sale of an additional 50,000 tickets a year. One screen will be added to the side of the theater, while another will be built behind the existing building at 1228 S. Main St. in downtown Angels Camp.

The theater's management was renting part of the building to an insurance agent, who recently was asked to move. The extra room will allow the theater's lobby to be doubled in size.

This expansion, several years in the making, is necessary to accommodate the area's abundance of movie goers, said Dave Corkill, owner of Cinema West, the company that runs Angels Theatre.

All five screens will have stadium-style seating and feature state-of-the-art digital sound, Corkill said.

He estimates the theater currently has 75,000 patrons annually, and he expects that figure to increase to 100,000 -125,000 after the expansion.

"The theater's very successful," Corkill said.

Built in 1938 by a San Francisco architect, Angels Theatre was renovated in 1999. It shows first-run commercial movies in addition to independent films during part of the year.

Plans for the addition have passed structural and code compliance checks.

Jim Oakes, Angels Camp's building official, gave the thumbs up to the theater's sprinkler system and exiting locations yesterday. Faye Perata, the city's building clerk, now will tally building fees for the project so construction can begin.

Corkill anticipates the expansion to be done by the end of the year.

Rod Johnson of RJ Electric was hired to do electrical work for the new addition. He was doing just that yesterday afternoon at the theater.

Johnson, a Murphys resident, also was contracted to do electrical work about four years ago when the theater expanded from one to three screens.

"From one to five screens in four years — that's growth," Johnson said of the public's demand.