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April 4, 2008

Warren: 'Welcome to my dream'

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MOORE — Before videotapes, DVDs, Netflix and YouTube, Bill Warren recalls, movies were king. Going out to a movie was an experience for the whole family.

Now as owner of Warren Theatres, he wants to put the experience back into movie-going. After running a small, but successful chain of theaters in Kansas, Warren has brought his cinematic vision to Oklahoma.

Warren Theatre opens today in Moore and Bill Warren calls it the finest theater in the United States.

“Welcome to my dream,” Warren said Thursday as he opened the doors to the media. “I grew up when movie palaces were movie palaces. We recreated that here. I hope viewers are surprised or wowed by what we have done here.”

This is the fourth lavish theater Warren has built; the other three are in Wichita, Kan.

For Warren, Moore offered everything he needed when looking for a place to expand his dream, which took two years to build.

“We looked around,” Warren said. “We felt like this was a great location. A central location. This is a regional type of theater. So even for the folks who live in north Oklahoma City, it’s fairly easy for them to come here. The people of Moore have been great and the government very accommodating.”

The $29 million complex is designed in vintage decor.

From the marquee out front to the diner inside, it has the feel of a genre that has been passed by. That includes 14 large (40 feet by 80 feet) screens that have 3D capability.

A diner that serves a variety of food from the 1940s is located inside the building.

“You can actually come in and get a bite to eat and not have to buy a movie ticket,” said a theater employee.

In the theater, two showcase auditoriums with reserved balcony seating are offered. There customers, just by pushing a button in their seat, can order appetizers, desserts, meals and mixed drinks off a menu and have it delivered directly to their heated seats during the film.

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