The community effort to reopen the Met Cinemas movie theater in Oakhurst succeeded when a group raising support reached its goal of 3,000 subscriptions hours before its New Year's Eve deadline, said Matt Sconce, one of the effort's three project leaders.
The 3,000th subscription for the theater's membership plan was recorded at 8:20 p.m. Monday, ensuring that the new operating group can cover its costs, Sconce said Tuesday night.
The Met Cinemas is scheduled to open Feb. 1.
The Save the Met project was spearheaded by three childhood friends -- Sconce, James Nelson and Keith Walker -- who wanted to reopen the theater that closed its doors in November.
The three combined their skills and started Movie Heroes Inc. to save the Met by the Dec. 31 deadline set by its landlords. Through the company, the three developed a website to solicit theater memberships.
But it was a scary task reaching out to a rural community of 22,000 households, Sconce said.
"We knew we only had two months to make this work -- one to prepare and one to campaign. That was daunting at first."
Since November, Save the Met supporters dressed up as their favorite superheroes at the intersection of Highways 41 and 49 and at other medians in town to recruit people to become "Met Heroes."
The individual monthly membership plan costs $19.95, which gives one-time access to eight to 10 new movies per month. Members will get a smart card to track what they have seen. If they want to see a movie more than once, they must buy an additional ticket. Discounted packages for couples and families also are available.
Sconce said his group has big plans for the theater -- including an espresso bar and possibly new digital projectors -- if memberships continue to grow.