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STUTTGART, Germany — Friday was cold and rainy, a good day for a movie.

Or better yet, a new movie theater.

The $3.2 million Patch Theater opened Friday, just in time for Christmas — and for moviegoers who’d been without a cinema for six months. First up: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

“My mom said we’ll probably go see it,” said 10-year-old Kevin Perry, who added that he’ll be happy to not have to go across town anymore to the tiny theater at Robinson Barracks.

“It will be nicer,” Kevin said. “We won’t have to get there early just to get a ticket.

“I went to one movie there, but I really did not like it. It was really small.”

That’s not the case with the new theater at Patch Barracks. There are 394 seats, and each has a cup holder big enough for a jumbo drink. It also features a top-notch sound system and steep, stadium seating with firm, dark-blue seats that are staggered so the guy in front doesn’t block the screen with his head.

The old theater, built in 1953 for $54,000, had seating that was practically flat, and its cup holders were too small for big cups.

Friday’s grand opening featured a ribbon-cutting and a few speeches. About 150 people toured the facility even as workers were applying the finishing touches by shining up the windowpanes.

“We wanted all along to be open by Christmas,” said Jim Grady, deputy director of public works for Army Garrison Stuttgart. “It’s good for families to have something to go to at Christmas that feels like home.”

The new theater, which was built on the site of the old one, has a five-sided snack bar. Its fare includes the old movie standards: popcorn, Goobers and Junior Mints. There’s also a new menu item — personal-size pizzas.

“It’s really nice,” said Alex Kloss, a 16-year-old junior at Patch American High School. “It’s a great improvement to the community here at Patch.”

For the grand opening, the ushers wore black slacks, white shirts and, for the guys, ties. They will also have new uniforms: khaki slacks and polo shirt with “Reel Time” emblems.

The theater is the latest in a series of capital projects in Stuttgart.

Some of the family housing has been renovated, and the rest is on the schedule. The community also broke ground on a new post exchange at Panzer Casern that is scheduled to open in November, and the remodeled building at Panzer for community services is slated to open in October.

That might not matter yet to 10-year-old Kevin, who, when asked, was hard-pressed to come up with a favorite actor.

“It might be Jim Carrey,” Kevin said. “I like him because he’s really funny.”


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