The theater debuted its first movie in 40 years, “Chocolat,” on Valentine’s Day.
The Canton City Council in November gave $50,000 for movie projection equipment at the theater, managed by the Canton Downtown Development Authority.
The theater will now show movies on a 275-inch screen with a professional sound system.
Canton business Audio Intersection installed the equipment. A staff of eight installed it over the span of about three weeks.
Michael Buckner, owner of Audio Intersection, said he was excited to work on the project because the Canton Theatre, as a community theater, can be used for special events and themed nights, unlike a corporate theater.
“I think it’s turned out really well,” DDA member Stan Rogers said.
The Canton Theatre previously showed movies until the 1970s.
Wanda Roach, chairperson of the DDA, said the group first looked at reviving movies at the theater in 2009. At that time, the DDA formed a movie committee, solicited equipment bids and surveyed residents regarding their interest in a downtown theater.
“At that time, we had no staff and no money, so that was put on hold,” Roach said.
Now that the Canton Theatre is capable of showing movies, the theater may host special events like film festivals, video game tournaments or showings of sporting events.
The DDA will host a grand opening for the theater, but no date has been set yet.
“We’re hoping to get more people in. We’re still in our infancy with adding another dimension to the theater,” Roach said.
Theater director Bob Seguin said he hopes to show movies while people are already downtown for First Fridays, set to begin again March 3, and show movies at other times when the theater isn’t hosting live shows or events.
“I think it’s a pretty big deal,” he said.
Seguin said a recent Patsy Cline tribute show performed by Katie Deal, daughter of Gov. Nathan Deal, was a successful event for the theater. He estimated about 60 percent of attendees of the two nights of the show were coming to the Canton Theatre for the first time.
“I’m just amazed at the new people coming,” he said.