Tenants of Kickingbird Plaza are hopeful that the old Kickingbird Cinema will bring new life and customers to the shopping center.
In March 2020, the eight-screen cinema, showing movies since it first opened in 1988, turned off its projectors, doused its lights, and shut its doors for the last time, an apparent victim of the coronavirus epidemic and changing times.
While antiquated posters in the shuttered cinema’s display cases still advertise pre-COVID movie releases, such as The Call of the Wild and 1917. Fastened among them is a new poster, promising better times ahead.
This poster, its ink still new and unmarred by the weather, boasts “Icon Cinema” as the theater’s new name and promises a whole new movie-viewing experience featuring VIP electric seating, eight movie screens, all you can drink, and all you can eat popcorn.
“Movie night has never been so comfortable,” declares the poster.
According to Icon Cinema’s website, which banners the Edmond location as “coming soon,” the company claims cinemas in Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, and San Angelo all promote the same VIP seating treatment as their distinguishing feature.
Businesses located in this shopping center situated on the northwest corner of Bryant and Danforth Avenue are excited to see what kinds of changes Icon Cinema will bring to the area.
Karen Maidt, the general manager of Interurban Edmond, a restaurant known for its local comfort food and cocktail bar, said she is excited for the reopening.
“It will increase our business,” she said, remarking how in days past, people would eat at the restaurant and then head to the movies. “A lot of the population in the vicinity like the theater because it’s a hometown theater and has always been a place where they feel comfortable.”
Pam Orendorff, owner of Hip & Swanky Boutique, a women’s apparel and accessories store just a few doors back from Interurban Edmond, said much the same. She said Kickingbird Cinema was always one of the safer, more family-friendly movie centers in the area where parents felt safe dropping off their kids and picking them up later. Now, with the cinema reopening, she hopes to see traffic return to the shopping center.
“I think the upgrades will be in line with being competition with ShowBiz,” she said, speaking of the new 10-screen multiplex on the corner of I-35 and East Covell Road. “A lot of people are talking about the opening and getting a quieter experience [than at ShowBiz].”
Kickingbird Flowers owner Debbie McFarlin said since the closing of Kickingbird Cinema, her end of the plaza near the movie theater has been rather empty.
“[Movie goers] would go, eat, stop by my store, then head to the movie theater. Even if they stopped and looked in the window, that was good,” she said. But, with the Icon Cinema coming, she has high hopes for future traffic past her windows, or even better, through her door. “We’re excited! Hurry and get it open! It’ll be good.”
As of press time, the owner never responded to Edmond Business’s inquiries concerning timelines or further details about the theater. Workers in late June could be seen removing old seat cushions and hauling old hardware from the building. Nevertheless, hopes are high.
“This will be something new and exciting,” said Maidt with Interurban. “It just depends on what they have to offer on what happens here.”
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About Thomas Berger
Thomas Berger is the owner of Ciskus Creative, an Edmond-based creative agency focused on creating marketing content for small and medium-sized businesses.
Prior to starting his own company, he worked as the communications/marketing specialist for an Oklahoma City-based office technology company. Former to coming to the Oklahoma City area, he had worked as a career journalist for more than a decade — initially reporting for several newspapers in western North Carolina and northeastern Oklahoma and later as a multimedia journalist for KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa.
Thomas has lived in Edmond with his wife Alison since 2013. He has a passion for traveling, photography, learning languages, landscaping and coffee roasting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Carolina University.