Micon: The Return

Micon Cinemas 7 remodel upgrades the movie magic

Haley Wright, photos by Andrea Paulseth

LET’S ALL GO TO THE MOVIES. Micon Cinemas 7 in Eau Claire has added digital projectors, new sound systems, 3D screens, an upgraded concession stand, recliner seats, and a bar selling drinks and a variety of food.
LET’S ALL GO TO THE MOVIES. Micon Cinemas 7 in Eau Claire has added digital projectors, new sound systems, 3D screens, an upgraded concession stand, recliner seats, and a bar selling drinks and a variety of food.

A whole new VIP movie-going experience is bubbling in Eau Claire thanks to the remodel and revamp of the Micon Cinemas 7 theater on London Road, including the addition of a bar and restaurant.

Connie Olson, who owns the theater with her husband, Mike, said the plan to remodel Micon 7 has been in the works since the family acquired the theater in 2010, and the inspiration to make it what it is today came from a combination of changes in the movie industry and the movie-going experience available in larger cities. She wanted to bring those changes here to Eau Claire.

“Right now they are making the Bumblebee and Optimus Prime for the new Transformers and the Despicable Me for Despicable Me 3.” – Connie Olson, as her bartenders start to whip up blockbuster-themed cocktails at the Micon Cinemas 7

The full scope of the remodel is starting to come alive with new digital projectors, new sound systems, 3D screens, new computer systems, a modernized concession stand, some amazingly cushiony recliner seats, and a bar that sells drinks and a variety of food.

“A lot has happened in the movie industry in the last 20 years,” Olson said. “We were able to watch these trends and then figure out what we wanted to bring to the people of Eau Claire.”

Five of the seven auditoriums were completely gutted and outfitted with new seats, new screens, drapery, sound, and carpet. The remaining two – both of which were more narrow – have been reconfigured to run the opposite direction and now have some of the largest screens in the area.

It’s a work in progress, Olson said, and there are already some future projects underway that include carpeting the lobby, repaving the parking lot, and adding reserved seating and options to order all the food choices at the concession stand with a pager system. She said they could also add recliner seats to the remaining two theaters, but it hasn’t quite happened yet.

“We are finding that people love to watch the movies in recliners. They check specifically at the box office to see what’s showing in those auditoriums,” she said.

The restaurant and bar – called The VIP Lounge – is already up and running at Micon 7, and has similar offerings to what is available at the Micon-owned Downtown Cinema, 315 S. Barstow St. The space is complete with a horseshoe bar and booths, while food options are categorized as Previews (appetizers like nachos, smothered tater-tots and pretzels), Features (chicken strips, mac ’n’ cheese, hamburgers, and quesadillas), and Credits (dessert stuff like ice cream, donuts, and funnel fries). Not to mention their handmade pizzas such as chicken alfredo, barbecue chicken, and meat-lovers. If you want to enjoy a libation before your movie, the bar carries tap and bottled beer (local stuff, too!), wine, spirits, and specialty drinks for new movies.

“Right now they are making the Bumblebee and Optimus Prime for the new Transformers and the Despicable Me for Despicable Me 3,” Olson said. “What’s nice is you can eat and drink it in the restaurant or take it into the movie.”

So if you haven’t been down to the theater in a while, catch a flick sometime soon in comfort and style ... and air-conditioning. That too.

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