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Here's a first look at Carmike Cinemas

Becky Higdon, 17, left, and her mother Karen walk outside the Apple Blossom 12 Theatre in Winchester on Wednesday afternoon. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Terrell Mayton, director of marketing for Carmike Cinemas, stands inside this 500-seat theater room at Apple Blossom 12. It boasts a screen three stories high and 80 feet wide. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

April Diel, assistant manager of Apple Blossom 12 Theatre, operates the movie screens from this computer server room. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Ryan Cornell

WINCHESTER -- There's a good chance it's the nicest movie theater you've ever entered.

In fact, only 18 other theaters of its kind exist in the U.S., matching the same equipment and attention to experience that Carmike Cinemas has put into its new 12-screen theater at Winchester's Apple Blossom Mall.

Featuring a "BIGD" auditorium with approximately 500 seats and a screen that is more than 3 1/2 stories tall and 80 feet wide, it's the closest thing to being on a movie set.

"The guest experience starts at the door," said Terrell Mayton, director of marketing at Carmike Cinemas. He said instead of a typical box office, tickets are sold at the concession stand, where people can escape the heat or rain.

After buying their tickets -- Mayton said "BIGD" tickets are $2 more and 3D movie tickets are $3 more than their standard prices -- customers walk by a glass enclosure housing stacks of computer servers. It looks like something out of a spy movie.

"We're known for our leading-edge guest experience," Mayton said. "So when a guest walks down the hall and sees this equipment, they know they're getting the finest presentation on the screen from the picture to the sound."

The projector can show up to 34 trillion colors. Two rear speakers at the back of the theater deliver crisp surround sound. The result of in-depth research by Carmike and about a year of construction, the movie-watching experience is something they work on perfecting. "And we're constantly trying to tweak and fine-tune it," said Mayton.

"Winchester's always been a good market for us," Mayton said. "We're about hometown theaters and people from throughout this region will come to this theater. In Washington, there won't be anything like this." He added the company opens a new theater approximately every other month.

The "BIGD" auditorium will premiere its first film, "White House Down," at 10 p.m. Thursday.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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