Crossett man plans for movie theater

Todd Kelley
Staff Writer

   Movie companies say a movie theater would lose money in Crossett. That will not stop one local business man from building it.

   "Ugly" Ed Russell, owner of Woodland Chrysler Dodge, said he hopes to begin construction on his theater as soon as he can close the deal with skeptical movie companies.

   "I have the construction crew hired. I have a location. All I need now are the movies," Russell said.

   Why would a theater lose money in Crossett though?

   Since the 1986 closing of the Wren Drive-in, people from Crossett must drive to Monticello, Bastrop or Monroe to see movies. Cora Kauffenberger, owner of the Wren, said not enough people in Crossett will stay in town and watch movies regardless of the theater. The reasoning lies in some of the problems she encountered.

   "Most people in Crossett want to watch a movie after they get finished shopping. They want to go to Monroe or Monticello to get away and do things somewhere else. Also, smaller towns do not get access to movies until after the larger towns have shown them for awhile. The people that came to watch our movies were the ones that missed it in the larger towns or people that wanted an authentic drive-in experience," she said.

   Despite resistance, Russell said he will continue to move forward with his plans. Profit margins are not what he is looking at. According to Russell, even if the theater loses money it will be worth it.

   "The people of Crossett have welcomed and accepted me and my family," he said. "I feel at home here, and now I would like a better Crossett. This is my way of giving back to the community that has been so kind to us."

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