Miamisburg movie theater plans to grow further after best year

The Plaza Theatre in downtown Miamisburg is coming off its best year and creating new ways to pack the house.

“Many factors determined our success for 2022,” said Plaza Theatre Executive Director Chris Sedlak. “We had a record year for attendance and guests with over 17,000 coming to see a film or live show.”

Many others coming to private rentals and corporate events throughout the year helped the venue’s bottom line, Sedlak said. The Plaza Theatre also had its most-attended film to date for a single run with “Top Gun: Maverick” and more than 1,500 attending.

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It also had a record year for donations with its annual gala, Sportsman’s Raffle with the Miamisburg Moose. The theater launched its “Century of Cinema” series with sponsorship from Montgomery County, Culture Works and the Miamisburg Eagles.

“We had such success with it that we continued it through 2023 with new presenters and films,” Sedlak said.

The Plaza Theatre was originally opened in 1919 on Christmas Day by the Weaver Brothers and ran for 50 years, closing in 1968, Sedlak said. It was a western shop from 1968 to 2002 owned by the Sorrell Family.

The theater stood vacant from 2002 until it was restored in 2015.

The Historic Plaza Theatre was reopened Christmas Day 2015 and is run now as a nonprofit organization and overseen by a board of directors all with ties to Miamisburg.

“We were down in ... 2020 and 2021, but we weren’t out,” Sedlak said. “The Miamisburg community and the surrounding areas continued to show up at the Plaza and give their support during these times, which allowed us to stay open and really thrive in 2022.”

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Efforts for 2023 are designed to build on that success, Sedlak said.

“We listen to our guests, he said. “We ask the community what they want this theater to be. Our guests love coming to the Plaza for the experience as much as seeing a movie.”

This year, the theater is offering admission for just a 25 cents for movie matinees on selected Saturdays. The first chance to do so is 1 p.m. on Feb. 11, when it is slated to show “When Harry Met Sally” starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.

“We plan on offering this once per quarter in 2023,” said Doug Sorrell, a board member at Plaza Theatre Association and a driving force behind the downtown Miamisburg venue.

The discounted series is sponsored by Miamisburg Moose Lodge 1645, he said. Doors for the 292-seat theater open at noon for each matinee.

Sorrel said the Plaza Theatre is offering the discounted rate for those selected Saturdays in 2023 “because we can.”

“We aren’t beholden to a corporate structure,” he said. “We’re a non-profit, volunteer-run facility with a handful of salaried staff.”

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The discounted rate also gives customers a glimpse into the city’s past.

“Over the last seven years, when (Miamisburg)residents reminisce about the Plaza, they always mention 25-cent admission on Saturdays,” Sorrell said.

The Century of Cinema series features a 12- to 15-minute pre-show of stories, film clips, photos and then the film. Admission is $5 and the pre-show narrative gets underway at 7 p.m.

The focus for 2023 will be “epic/iconic and music biography films,” Sorrell said.

Films already announced for this year’s Century of Cinema series include:

  • Jan. 18: “2001: A Space Odyssey”
  • Feb 1: “Psycho”
  • Feb 15: “The Doors”
  • March 1: “How the West Was Won”
  • March 15: “Coal Miner’s Daughter”
  • April 5: “The Greatest Story Ever Told”
  • April 19: “Braveheart”
  • May 3: “The Godfather”
  • May 17: “Walk the Line”

Other possible film choices include “Gladiator”, Planet of the Apes”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “La Bamba”, “Jersey Boys” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

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