By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY December 23, 2003 The curtain is rising again on the Liberty Theatre.
Just a few months after owner David Gibson announced the theater would be closed for an indefinite amount of time, a knight in shining armor has come to his rescue.
Mark Zurlo, owner of an arcade in Woodbourne as well as the Middletown Discount Cinema, has leased the facility and threw open the doors Saturday afternoon.
Zurlo hopes to bring the old theater back to the popularity it earned in its heydays when it was the hottest spot in town.
With reduced prices and a second-run lineup, Zurlo hopes to attract families to the theater.
For $20, a family can get a bottomless popcorn, soda and see a movie, he said, even at night with the higher price.
For $2.50 . . . you cant get a DVD at Blockbuster for that, he noted.
And the movies will be second-run, not second-rate, Zurlo added.
It can be playing at the Monticello Quad on Thursday, and Friday we could have it, he explained. Sometimes theyre two weeks old, sometimes theyre a month old.
The advantage to having second-run movies is the ability to run six movies on the three screens at the theater instead of limiting the showing to one per screen.
The cost for films will be $2.50 for matinees and childrens admittance, $3.50 for adults after 6 p.m. and $4.95 for art films.
Concessions will include a bottomless popcorn option which includes refills.
Zurlo stopped short of criticizing his predecessors, noting that he has hired back some of the employees laid off when the theater closed.
He merely explained that his aim is to make a successful theater using his own expertise.
We are in the movie business, so we know how to run a theater. [Gibson and his partners] are land developers, they develop land, he explained.
Gibson said he is making some changes in his life and focusing more of his energies on his New York City business.
Zurlos offer came at a perfect time, he said.
He should be able to do well with it, Gibson noted.
As a local resident, Zurlo wants to keep his funds in the theater.
Every nickel will be put back into the theater, he said.
For more information on the Liberty Theatres offerings, call the new movie line at 292-3000.