Good news for Lake of the Ozarks moviegoers on the Westside: the Lake West Movie Theater on Route O in Laurie has been bought and will reopen later this year.

The sale of the theater was finalized on Thursday, Jan. 31. The new owners, VIP Cinemas Inc., owned by the McSparin family, took possession the same day. The McSparin’s have been in the movie theater business for 29 years. They currently own six movie theaters located in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Florida.

Lake West Cinema closed in September 2018. Jake McSparin said when the family heard about the theater being for sale, they searched for more information online, and an article on LakeExpo.com was the first thing that came up. “The story piqued our interest and definitely had an impact on the purchase,” Jake said.

“We need to get in there and see the scope of what needs to be done to be ready to open for business,” Jake McSparin said. “We are cleaning and renovating and will install new seating.” The theater is expected to be ready to open early April 2019, under a new name. 

Discounted Movie Tickets 

The McSparins want families and senior citizens to be able to afford a movie. They plan to offer daily matinees, seven days a week, with free popcorn and deep discounts. “Our prices will be half, or less than half as going to the Marcus Eagles Landing Cinema in Lake Ozark,” Jake said. Even better for Westsiders will be avoiding a bridge toll to go see a movie. “We want families to be able to come out and enjoy a movie on a regular basis. A lot of theaters have made it so expensive, they just can’t afford to do that.”

The theater property also includes a strip mall with two tenants, Mac’s at the Lake Restaurant and the Lake Wood Coin Laundry.  The new owners will be aggressively seeking to rent two empty spaces, that formerly held a coffee shop and a portrait studio. “We want businesses in there that will drive customers to the westside,” Jake said. “We believe that with the right management, low prices and doing business the right way we will succeed,” Jake said. 

The plans are to move one of their experienced theater managers, David Lee, from Florida to handle operations at the westside theater. Jack and his dad Mark have fallen in love with the Lake of the Ozarks. “We plan use the theater as an excuse to visit the lake as much as possible,” Jake said. The theater will employ 10 to 15 people. Information on how to apply for the employment will be announced in April.

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