BELTON — Imagine an evening out with a movie, dinner and live comedians all in one location at affordable prices.
Now, imagine that place is just a short drive away in downtown Belton.
Film Factory Cinemas recently added movies to its comedy club lineup at The Beltonian theater, which began featuring comedy shows in December. For owners Roy Bufis and his wife, Stephanie, combining film and stand-up comedy elements in a hybrid theater completes a dream of theirs.
The Beltonian Comedy Club and Film Factory Cinemas are two separate businesses operated by Bufis at one location. The theater screens older films in a family-friendly environment at half the price of theaters that show first-run films, Bufis said, stressing that entertainment at affordable prices does not mean lower standards.
General Manager Conner Dickson agreed.
“We’re not running DVDs; this is the full-on digital deal.”
Along with movies and comedy, The Beltonian offers an extensive menu that includes hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken wraps and Frito pies.
Dickson, who moved to Belton from North Texas in November with his wife Maggie, began his theater career as a projectionist at Starplex Cinemas and moved up through management. He became manager of The Beltonian when Bufis, his business partner of four years, told him of his dream of owning a cinema-and-comedy-club hybrid and asked him to run it.
Turning around struggling theaters is a talent and point of pride for Bufis. When he first became a theater manager early in his career, a theater chain placed him at venues around Dallas that faced many problems and held little promise, he said.
“The first theater had burlap sack curtains, archaic mono sound and seats missing stuffing from the cushions,” Bufis said.
Despite those hurdles, Bufis boosted attendance by 30 percent through careful management and customer service.
Reviving the aging Belton theater was right up his alley.
“I love history, so owning a historical theater like this one is a big plus, especially when it’s in good shape,” he said.
Bufis and Dickson plan to host retro nights at the theater, featuring popular films like “Jaws” and “Spaceballs,” along with film festivals, Academy Award screenings and other cinematic events.
The Beltonian, 219 E. Central Ave. in Belton, has matinee shows Thursday through Saturday and all day offerings Sunday through Wednesday.
For movies and showtimes, call (254) 939-9191.