JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
Nearly one year after its reopening, the Taj Mahal movie theater in Fleenor Auditorium is again enjoying success as an entertainment destination for the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph community.
Part of the original Taj Mahal construction project more than 80 years ago, the theater opened in 1934 and was the site of the world premiere of “I Wanted Wings,” a 1940 film that starred Ray Milland and William Holden.
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service closed the theater five years ago due to declining attendance and the prospect of installing an expensive digital projection system, but reopened it Sept. 10, 2016. The theater is now averaging 500 to 700 guests monthly, said Phyllis Razis, JBSA-Randolph Exchange Food Court manager.
“We’ve seen a great increase in attendance,” she said. “We have had tremendous success with Disney movies as we are a first-run theater for Disney.”
The adults and children who are attending movies at the theater represent a cross-section of the JBSA-Randolph community, Razis said.
“We actually see a mixture of active-duty members and their families residing on base as well as those from off-base and our very loyal retirees,” she said. “We see repeat guests and we are rapidly growing as more people become aware of the theater reopening.”
The theater offers movies at 7 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Ticket prices provide guests with “true value,” Razis said.
Prices for a 2D movie are $6 for adults and $3.50 for children, while 3D movies are an additional $2.
“In comparison to off-base theaters, this is a savings of $2 to $4 per ticket,” Razis said.
The Exchange operates the concession stand, which features popcorn, candy, soft drinks, hot dogs, chili cheese dogs, nachos and combo meals.
In addition to the state-of-the-art digital projection system that was added prior to the reopening, the theater will soon add cup holders to its seats and a marquee on the outside of the building.
“Those will help with sales and the overall movie experience,” Razis said.
AAFES continues to reach out to the JBSA community, she said.
“We have partnered with Randolph Elementary School with field trips, and we look forward to further partnership with the military community for special showings for the units,” Razis said. “Our goal is to become an intricate and active part of the military community to improve the quality of life of our military community and give back dividends to support additional quality-of-life programs like the fitness centers, child care centers and golf courses.”