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There was an excellent article by Steve Everly in the Kansas City Star on Saturday May 24, 2014 about the I-70 and Twin Drive-In theaters. The article starts on the front page and continues on A12. It talks about B&B Theaters taking over the operation of the drive-ins, and that the switch to digital projection has been completed. Movie screens were repainted, and restrooms and the concession stand were upgraded. The seasonal grand opening was May 23.
UltraStar Cinemas took over management from SR Entertainment sometime in 2011, of both the Mary Pickford 14 and the Desert IMAX across the parking lot. Information is at their official website: ultrastarmovies.com
It appears this theater is now closed, as Mr. Neff mentioned earlier. Does anyone know if it has been demolished or is being used for another purpose now?
It appears Regency is operating this as a second-run theater now.
This theater is actually located just north of the old White Lakes mall, across the street from the former Sears. It opened in 1967 as an 850-seat single screen operated by National General. It was referred to as the Fox White Lakes because of its proximity to the mall, and because the mall owned the property. Mann took over operation of the theater shortly afterward. General Cinema opened their Boulevard Cinema I and II in 1974 just up the street, so in the fall of 1977 Mann closed the Fox in order to split the theater into a twin of 425 and 396 seats. It reopened in December 1977 showing ‘The Gauntlet’ and ‘Telefon’. Dickinson Theatres took over operation of the theater from Mann in 1980. In 1983 Dickinson wanted the mall owner to add two screens so they could stay competitive with the General Cinema theater, which had just split their twin into a three-plex. The mall was unable to finance the expansion, so Dickinson bought the property from the mall and built the addition themselves. These two new screens on the east end opened on August 17, 1984 seating 296 each. The first two movies in the new auditoriums were ‘The Woman in Red’ and ‘Sheena,’ and were the first in Topeka to feature Dolby Stereo surround sound! Crown Cinema bought the Dickinson theaters in Topeka shortly after Crown opened their new theaters at West Ridge Mall in 1987. At some point after Hollywood theaters took over from Crown around 1999, they closed the Gage 4, which had become a discount theater, and turned the Fox into a second-run theater. I believe the Fox was closed in 2004. There is a listing on loopnet with another good view of the theater looking northeast. At this time, the listing says the building is off-market. The abandoned mall and boarded up theater are among several buildings contributing to the general blight in the south Topeka area today.