By: Saraana Jamraj
Paradigm Cinemas officially opened in Tamarac in July after purchasing the space, where The Last Picture Show formerly stood, one week prior.
The transition period is not without challenges, as the new owner, Armand Daiguillon, renovates the cinema and attempts to find balance among audiences’ various tastes and reactions.
After the general manager of the Last Picture Show, Morris Zryl, passed away last January, loyal moviegoers mourned his constant presence, warmth, and engagement with the theater. Daiguillon, who is also the general manager, is there almost every day, as well. As he and his staff attempt to renovate the theater and create a new space for moviegoers, he understands the nostalgia people have for The Last Picture Show.
Currently, they’re in the middle of a “face-lift” for the theater and installing new recliner seating. At the time, several renovations already in place while others are underway. Anyone who attends will immediately witness the difference. While this theater isn’t exclusively a discount theater, Daiguillon still hopes to continue some of what people loved about it.
“They had a history of showing art films here, and that’s something we’re going to try to continue, as often as possible. There’s even an Israeli movie being shown right now,” he said.
Zryl and the Last Picture Show also had a love for Israeli movies. Aptly named, the Last Picture Show featured movies that had been released several weeks prior and were often discontinued at other theaters, allowing them to be a discount theater. However, to be sustainable and competitive, Paradigm Cinemas primarily features newer movies.
“A big concern with the local population is the pricing because this theater was previously a discount theater. Because we are showing first-run movies, the day of the $2.50 movies are gone, but we have priced ourselves lower than other theaters in the area.”
He explained that to show movies during their first weeks of release, prices need to be at a certain level. Because movie production companies take a certain percentage out of every ticket, the film companies don’t allow for considerable disparities in ticket prices, because it affects their income.
However, Diaguillon maintains that affordability is still the top priority for them. Their regular adult tickets are $8.75, at least a dollar less than neighboring theaters. They also offer $5.75 for all showings every day before noon, and for their discount day, Tuesdays. They also offer discounted student, child, and senior tickets.
Beyond ticket pricing, they’ve looked for other ways to ensure a trip to the movies never costs too much. “Our food pricing is also significantly less. Whereas a small popcorn somewhere else might cost $7, over here, it’s $2.75.”
Despite his efforts, he admits that the reception has been mixed.
“There are some die-hard seniors from Kings Point who are upset about not getting their $2.50 tickets and won’t come back because of that. So, there’s been pushback. On the other hand, there’s been positive feedback about things like our new seating. As far as renovations go, everyone seems to be happy.”
However, this is just the second month Paradigm Cinemas has been open, and there’s quite a bit to do as they continue the transition. Daiguillon said the summer has been slow, and they haven’t advertised yet, because they want to wait until the floors are complete this week. The lobby is slated to be finished by the end of this month, and the rest of the renovations in three to four weeks.
In the future, they hope to prevail in getting people back to the theaters.
“We want to get people to the movies who don’t go anymore. We want to make sure that it’s affordable enough for them to do so.”
Located at 10036 W McNab Rd, Tamarac, FL 33321. Tickets available on Fandango.
- Saraana Selene Jamraj is a writer, activist, and a student pursuing her master's degree in mass communications at Florida International University.
She's currently the communications manager at The Salt Box in Parkland and has lived in Coral Springs since 2004.