New seats installed at movie theater

MARIETTA – Do you plan to see the new Wolverine flick later this month? How about “The Butler” in August? “Turbo?”

Take in one of these or anything else in the coming weeks at Odyssey Theaters in Lafayette Plaza in Marietta, and your viewing pleasure may be enhanced by the new reclining seating in all seven of the auditoriums. Theater management said the project should be finished in about two weeks. The theater will lose the 966 original seats and replace them with 894 new seats.

Regal Cinemas built and opened the theater complex in 1991. The movie-going audience in Marietta had been left without a local movie house since 1985 when downtown Marietta’s Colony Theatre ceased operations. The Regal theater closed its doors in March 2011. Odyssey opened the building a short time later on April 1, 2011. In the fall of 2012, the theater upgraded its projection equipment with digital and promised more improvements to come.

Abby Burton, 10, came to the theater Monday afternoon with her grandfather, Butch Felton, 62, both of New Matamoras, to see “Monsters University.”

The pair tried out the model seats that have been available for a couple of weeks in the lobby. Both agreed they were nice and comfortable.

“I feel like I’m at home,” Burton said. “I like the leather feel.”

Becky Kominar, 56, of Belle Valley, brought two granddaughters, McKenna Mack, 8, and Emily Lockhart, 11, to also see “Monsters University” Monday afternoon. The seats are going to be hit with that group, they said.

“Now that I’m retired, I may have to come to movies more often.” Kominar said.

A variety of seat sizes will be used – 21-, 22-, 23- and 24-inch, manufactured by Seating Concepts in San Diego, and replacing the original 20-year-old seating installed in 1991.

“They don’t move like they should, and it’s hard to get parts,” said David Oliver, the theater’s general manager since 2009.

Lorrie Harris, 57, of Harris Seating, of Buchanan Va., was dismantling the old seats with the help of Rocky Turner, 38, and Jacob Murphy, 17, both of Vincent, on Monday.

“The chairs are really called Movement chairs,” Harris said. “When people sit in them, the chairs will accommodate their weight, and the chairs will lean back just the right amount.”

Cody Parman, 33, of Marietta, volunteered to carry the old seating from the theater. He also is pastor of Journey Church, which conducts its Sunday services at the theater.

“(The new seats) recline and have high backs – a far superior chair,” Parman said. “I’ll have to step up my preaching because my congregation will be more comfortable.”

Oliver said the old seating will be donated to Wood County Habitat for Humanity and distributed through the organization’s ReStore retail sites.

Once the seating project is finished, the theater plans to get new digital schedule boards for the box office and menu boards for the concession area, Oliver said.