City residents have experienced a lot the past few months.
Aliens invaded the earth, but Tom Cruise helped save humanity.
Country legends Johnny and June Carter Cash wowed the masses with their fiery romance.
And let's not forget a certain gigantic lovesick ape that is currently on the loose.
Of course, all of these events have occurred at the Portsmouth Cinemas, which opened in July.
“The business aspect has picked up tremendously,” general manager Kevin Holsinger said. “I still think there's a lot of people in the surrounding area who don't know Portsmouth has a theater.”
After a late summer slump, the business continues to grow, Holsinger said.
“It was kind of dead back in the summertime, off and on,” he said. “But I'd say since a couple months ago, it's just went off the charts.”
The theater missed some projected opening dates which may have hurt initial business, Holsinger said.
Holsinger said his knowledge of the community is a reason for the increase in attendance. For example, he has contacted local schools about having parties at the theater and is trying to get Shawnee State University students to come to the theater.
Theater supervisor Stephie Phillips said while the theater is not close to SSU, that does not prevent students from visiting.
Audiences of all ages come to the theater, Holsinger said.
“You would think on the weekend it would be a high school, college-type crowd,” he said. “But it's almost a 50-50 split throughout the week. A lot of the older people in the community have just been ecstatic about it.”
The Republic Theaters from Kentucky owns the theater, located near the U.S. 23 viaduct.
Holsinger said he told Republic management their idea of opening in Portsmouth was a “godsend.”
“Basically, we're in an area where there was nothing to do,” he said. “They're ecstatic over the (attendance) numbers. They did not expect the numbers to be anywhere near where they are at.”
Holsinger said the theater may expand from eight to 12 screens if business continues to increase.
“I can see that happening within the next year, in my opinion,” he said.
Some of those screens may be rented out for private gatherings, according to Holsinger.
The theater features four daily showings. Holsinger said that will remain the case for now, but the 1 p.m. weekday showing may be eliminated because of poor attendance.
“It kind of fluctuates,” he said. “I can't say we will always have them. We're weighing the reds and blacks of it. It's been good, it's been bad. But worst-case scenario, we'll go to 5, 7, and 9 p.m. showings.”
But the matinees could do better with more promotion, Holsinger said.
He said he hasn't done a lot in the way of promotions. Holsinger said that will change in the spring, but he could not reveal the upcoming marketing strategy.
Phillips' duties include ushering, supervising employees, selling tickets and operating the concession stand. While that is a lot, she is not complaining.
“It's the best job I've ever had,” the SSU student said. “I'm so into entertainment, and it's an entertainment buff's dream job.”
Phillips said the theater provides a safe place for young people to go.
“And for us college-age people, it's a break from studying,” she said. “You go see a flick and have fun.”
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.