Hancock County welcomes first movie theater in 8 years - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hancock County welcomes first movie theater in 8 years

The city has been without a movie theater for eight years. (Photo source: WLOX News) The city has been without a movie theater for eight years. (Photo source: WLOX News)
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The Beacon Theater opened its doors under new management Friday evening after being closed for nearly a decade.

New owner, and coast native, Charles Watzke moved his family from Florida to open doors in Waveland. Watzke comes from a line of movie theater owners and based the wooden and copper decor off of what existed at the old theater. 

"There's not much left of the old one at all. Pretty much just the building itself and we pretty much cleared it out," said Watzke

The old Choctaw Theater that previously existed received major damage after Katrina and never really got back on its feet. It temporarily reopened in 2007, but had to close after customers complained of mold. The city has been without a theater for eight years.

"It's kind of nostalgic in a way. I kind of can remember the way it used to look, and now it looks a lot better," said Bay resident Caroline Haas.

Haas says she typically had to drive to Gulfport or D'Iberville to watch a movie, and is happy about shorter commute. 

Waveland Mayor Matt Smith says the reason the city was without a theater for so long has mostly been due to Katrina exodus, and the city's flood plain issues.

"People are hesitant to invest in the community, but hopefully this will be a spark to some of those people," Smith said. "Personally, I've been patiently checking on it, being a small part of it, trying to get this theater open because I think it's going to mean a lot not only for the city of Waveland, but for Hancock County in general."

The Beacon Theater is currently playing 'Jurassic World' and 'Minions', but plans to have new movies like 'Joy' starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper by Christmas. 

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