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Theater, drive-in reopening

April 05, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

The 10-screen Leitersburg Pike movie complex that closed in January will reopen next month under new ownership, one of the property owners said.

In addition, the drive-in theater that has been closed for years will be revived, starting with a temporary inflatable screen, Philip Ridenour of Taneytown, Md., said Tuesday.

Ridenour and three of his siblings will continue to own the property under the name Ridenour 1994 Family LLP.

The new operator will be American Family Entertainment of Eldersburg, Md., which operated a similar inflatable drive-in screen at Mason-Dixon Dragway on U.S. 40, east of Hagerstown, in 2003.

Philip Ridenour said the length of the agreement is "more substantial" than one year, but deferred to Alan Ackerman of American Family Entertainment to explain.

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Ackerman could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Crossroads Church, which has used the multiplex north of Hagerstown for Sunday services for 2 1/2 years, will remain a tenant, Pastor Chuck Frank said.

J. Kenneth Ridenour opened the cinema in 1970 next to a drive-in theater.

In recent years, the theater has had stops and starts in its operations.

R/C Theatres of Reisterstown, Md., took over in 1988 and added eight screens to the original two.

But R/C Theatres left after opening a 16-screen cineplex at Valley Mall in Halfway in 2000.

The 2,000-seat Leitersburg Pike cinema closed for two weeks in June 2002, then reopened under the management of Selina Theatres.

Tanya J. Ridenour, the wife of Ken Ridenour, a partner in Ridenour 1994 Family LLP, ran the cinema for about three years.

The cineplex closed again Jan. 15.

The drive-in was open from 1965 to 1985.

Philip Ridenour said the closing of Hagerstown Cinema 10 unexpectedly turned out to be a good thing for his family. After years of little outside interest in running the cinema, the Ridenours heard from three serious bidders this year.

American Film Entertainment was the only one of the three that wanted to reopen the cinema quickly, he said.

American Film Entertainment will work on the building and the grounds for the next 30 days, in hopes of reopening the cineplex and getting a drive-in screen ready, so movies again can roll in May, Ridenour said.

"After we reopen the theaters, we plan on bringing in Digital Projection and sound at both the indoor theater and the drive-in," says a Web page announcing the change in operations.

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