YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is trying to fill an entertainment void at Yokota by offering an expanded movie schedule at its base theater on weekends.
Four films are being shown every Saturday and another three on Sundays. When Yokota schools are on holiday, Friday lineups also will include four. That’s the arrangement all this month due to the number of student down days.
The base theater move was made shortly after the Oct. 26 pullout of Americable and resulting loss of premium cable television channels in homes, schools, businesses and workplaces.
In September, AAFES signed a 15-year contract with Allied Telesis Capital Corp. to provide voice, video and data services at Yokota. It’s expected to take over Internet and telephone lines in January, but the new cable television package won’t be available until May.
“It was something we decided we need to do during the interim, with prime TV going away while Allied Telesis does their build-out, to provide more entertainment,” said Larry Salgado, the Yokota Exchange’s general manager. “The best way to do that was to show more movies, particularly on weekends. … This schedule will remain until Allied Telesis gets their system in place for television.”
At 1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, the Yokota theater is showing the family comedy adventure film “Happy Feet,” set for release in the U.S. on Nov. 17.
Salgado said all three shoppettes on base now have more video rentals and the main store behind the Yokota Community Center has widened its selection of DVDs for sale. Various promotions are on tap at each Box Office Video location in the next few months, he added.
He said Allied Telesis remains on track for releasing a preliminary channel lineup by Dec. 8 and offering premium cable TV service in May.
“They’re on the ground, receiving the equipment and getting the approvals necessary,” Salgado said. “They’re working very closely with the base.”
A look at the Yokota base theater’s expanded weekend movie schedule, including show times:
Saturdays: 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Sundays: 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
When Yokota schools are on holiday, movies will be shown Friday at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.