Blackfoot Movie Mill opens

Kent Lott, owner of the new Blackfoot Movie Mill, stands in one of the seven screens that are in the old Blackfoot Motors building. The theater opened with four of the screens available on Nov. 9, and three more are due to open before Christmas. Lott also owns the Centre Twin and Paramount theaters in Idaho Falls.

After months of delay, the Blackfoot Movie Mill is finally open for business.

The seven-screen theater was scheduled to open in late June, but owner Kent Lott said construction took longer than planned.

But Blackfoot’s only movie theater opened its doors Friday with just four of seven screens up and running. Lott said they hope to have all screens playing by Christmas.

The theater is currently playing “The Grinch,” “Venom,” “The Crimes of Grindelwald” and “Instant Family.” But Lott said movies will be added as more of the screens become available. However, Lott said they decided to open as quickly as possible for the holiday season.

“We wanted to take advantage of the Thanksgiving weekend and open it when we could,” he said.

So far, Lott said the theater, which is in the former Blackfoot Motors car dealership, has received an outpouring of community support. At a trick-or-treat tour held on Halloween, Lott said, thousands of people showed up to see the mostly completed building.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting event will be held once all the screens are ready. But for now Lott said he is just happy to have the doors open.

“I’ve never been tasked with a project this big before,” he said. “And for what we’ve accomplished, it’s gone pretty fast.”

All seven screens feature laser projectors and 7.1 surround sound. Lott said to his knowledge, the Blackfoot Movie Mill is the first theater in the state to utilize laser projectors, which offer a cleaner picture.

“These lasers are just crystal clear,” he said. “They’re like going from a black and white TV to a brand new TV today. That’s the difference. It’s just unbelievable.”

Further, decor in the lobby of the theater is made from repurposed materials gathered in the initial demolition of the theater’s site, which Lott said once consisted of five connected buildings.

Reclaimed wood from the old structures was used in the cabinets and beams seen in the main lobby.

“The theme is pretty fun,” Lott said. “It has a very interesting feel, and it’s just friendly and fun.”

Lott, who also owns the Paramount and Centre Twin theaters in Idaho Falls, said that when he came to look at the Blackfoot building as a potential site for a new theater, he knew it would be a good fit.

“Even though it was ugly, it was perfect,” he said. “The building almost looked like it was built for me.”

The theater has already hired about 25 people, and Lott said he anticipates that number will double by the time all screens are running.

Once the staff is further trained, Lott said food items such as pizza and hot dogs will be available for purchase at the theater.

The theater will also soon feature online ticket booking and reserve seating.

“If someone lives in Idaho Falls or Pocatello, they’ll be able to go online and pick (a seat), and they know they’ll be able to have that seat before they even leave their driveway,” Lott said. “So people that want to travel here are guaranteed to get in.”

Lott said he is enthusiastic about the future of the theater, if for no other reason than the outpouring of support he said the community has already given.

“We’ve had tons of positive feedback,” he said. “It’s almost overwhelming. Everybody is just excited and supportive. And the response this weekend was just fantastic.”