Ruby Cinema at the Prosser Theater Opens with a Bang; Campus theater popular with moviegoers
Jan. 27, 2010 -- The much anticipated return of a movie theater to Gunnison coincided with what may become the most successful movie of all time.
Western State College students enjoying the new Prosser Theater. Front row (l-r) Regis Dahl, Grace Eggleston, and Laurel Sweeney. Back row (l-r) Andy Kucel, Ken Tandy, and Michelle Young.
The 3D blockbuster hit, “Avatar”, sold-out its Dec. 18 premier at the Ruby Cinema, located in the Prosser Theater on the Western State College campus in the new College Center. Now, more than a month later, moviegoers are still packing into the theater to see the second-highest grossing film in Hollywood history.
“‘Avatar’ has remained number one at the box office for five weeks in a row,” explained Ruby Cinema operator Mark Drucker. “It is a feat unheard of in today’s market.”
Drucker runs the Ruby Cinema with his wife, Allison. The couple has also operated the Majestic Theatre in Crested Butte since 2005.
“We’ve had a really positive start and we’ve been astounded that ‘Avatar’ has been so popular and has remained steady for so long,” Allison said. “What has also surprised us is that a lot of our frequent moviegoers from Crested Butte have also come down to experience the Prosser Theater.”
Chad Reich of Crested Butte is one of those who made the trip down valley to see “Avatar.”
“It was totally worth the trip,” Reich said. “The facility is amazing and it is a great amenity for the Gunnison Valley.”
Brittney Jeck, a senior at Western, was pleasantly surprised by the theatre.
“Once I was in the theater, I didn’t feel like I was in Gunnison anymore,” Jeck said. “After walking out after ‘Avatar’, I was like ‘Wow…I am still in Gunnison.’”
With all the hoopla surrounding “Avatar”, which has only increased since the film received Golden Globe awards for best drama and best director, attendance has remained steady at the Ruby Cinema. Because “Avatar” has had such good numbers (at a recent Sunday afternoon showing, nearly 100 people saw the film), the theater has to continue showing “Avatar” due to the nature of contracts and the film business.
“We can’t drop ‘Avatar’ yet, especially after the Golden Globes,” Allison said.
The Druckers shared that she expects a new film will be showing within a week or two. She also said that they are really excited about showing “Alice in Wonderland” in 3D, starring Johnny Depp, and directed by Tim Burton. That film is set to premier on March 5.
In addition to housing the Ruby Cinema, the Prosser Theater also serves the campus community. The facility is available to the campus before each afternoon showing, and the college can arrange for special events to be held during the nighttime.
“Last week, Western’s Responsible Alcohol Partnership (WRAP) had a midnight showing of a film,” Svea Whiting, the College Center Operations director said.
WSC events in the theatre are managed by the College Center operations staff.
The facility is named after Don Prosser, a 1975 WSC alumnus who made a $1.5 million donation to Western to construct and equip the theatre. Because the facility has a dual use between the college and the operators of the cinema, the name Ruby Cinema was created to provide that distinction. Thus, the theatre is often referred to as the Ruby Cinema at the Prosser Theater.
Whiting reported that the next WSC event in the Prosser Theater will be for the community-wide official dedication of the College Center the evening of Feb. 12. Duane Vandenbusche, history professor at Western, will give a presentation in the theatre at 7 p.m. as a part of the dedication. The presentation will cover the history of Western and the Gunnison Valley. The event is free to attend.
Story by: Luke Mehall, assistant director of public relations and communications