Telshor 12 remodel adds comfort to movie night

Jason Gibbs
Las Cruces Sun-News
Curt Young, head manager at Telshor 12 movie theater, demonstrates the new reclining "love seats" in one of the remodeled auditoriums. Tuesday, April 25, 2017

LAS CRUCES — It may soon be possible to put your feet up and get a beer and a burger while watching a blockbuster movie in Las Cruces.

Russell Allen, owner of Allen Theatres, is betting customers will pony up a couple of extra bucks to watch movies in comfort. At the Telshor 12, one of three theaters owned by the Allen family in Las Cruces, he has removed traditional stadium seating and replaced it with more roomy, comfortable seating that allows moviegoers to recline and has a fold-out table on each chair.

Once the Telshor 12 conversion is complete, he is looking at bringing in full food service as well as a beer and wine license to allow patrons to better enjoy the movie experience.

The move reduced seating capacity at the theater by 55 to 60 percent, bringing the number of seats in the 12-auditorium theater from about 2,100 to 900. So far, nine auditoriums have been converted and the remaining three should be done by Memorial Day weekend, Allen said.

Ticket prices will rise by $2 at Telshor 12 after the final three auditoriums are complete. Prices are currently $9 for adults and $7 for seniors and children. Friday and Saturday showing cost 50 cents more. Because of the more spacious seating and the reduced number of tickets available, the theater is assigning seating at the time of ticket purchase.


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Allen Theatres, which owns 16 locations in New Mexico and Colorado, had success in converting its Roswell location to this format, and the reaction in Las Cruces has been positive so far.

The concession stands at Telshor 12, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

“It’s been extremely well-received,” Allen said. “They love the seats. The reserved seating is half-and-half. It’s an awkward change. You go from an auditorium with 250 seats to one that has 100, and you are selling big blockbusters, you’ve got to do your stuff in advance and plan a little ahead because there may not be a seat if you walk up.”

Instead, Allen suggests patrons buy their tickets in advance through the company’s website or mobile app.

The back two rows in each auditorium have been converted to “love seats” that accommodate two ticketholders and have “what we would consider the best viewing point,” Allen said. Space for those in wheelchairs is arranged next to companion seating to allow a more comfortable experience for the handicapped, he said.

The company chose Roswell to test its new seating because it has been shown to work well in markets where more than one company has a theater. Since Las Cruces is a non-competitive market, with the Allens owning Telshor 12 as well as Cineport 10 and Video 4, this is something of an experiment, Allen said. If it proves to be successful, he will consider remodeling the other locations.


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“Our biggest drive is to show the best Hollywood has to offer in the best accommodations,” Allen said. “A lot of restaurant people are getting into the theater business. They are restaurants that show movies. We are movie people and our philosophy is we are going to show movies and serve food.”

One of the new remodeled movie theaters at Telshor 12, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

This summer, the Video 4 location will continue its tradition of showing free, family-oriented movies with three to four screenings one day every week. The shows will likely begin the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

While the Cineport 10 could eventually undergo the same transformation, the eventual plan is to put a new theater on the Video 4 location, Allen said. The business, originally founded by Russell’s father, Larry and Larry’s brother, Lane, was officially handed to Russell and his two siblings and two cousins in November, 2016.

“If we can give a little bit of the happiness of Hollywood to as many people as possible for the lowest cost we can, we want to do that,” Allen said. “We hope people enjoy coming to the movies.”

Jason Gibbs may be reached at 575-541-5451, or @fjgwriter on Twitter.