Nov. 02--Before El Paso had seven first-run movie theaters with several screens, Montwood Movies 7 was the blockbuster spot on the East Side.
Erika Frensley, now a Houston resident, remembers watching Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back on opening day in May 1980. The lines at Montwood stretched from the "theater lobby, down one side, round the corner and up partly the other side."
"My friends and I were dressed as our own characters," Frensley said. "Remember, this was in the early days of Star Wars fandom ... I was dressed as a cat lady smuggler, a friend was dressed as a droid technician and another friend was dressed as a bounty hunter ... la Han Solo, with the rest of the group as assorted aliens. We walked up and down the very long line and got a discount for entertaining the line while we waited"
Montwood Movies 7 on 2200 N. Yarbrough, opened as a three-screen cinema nearly four decades ago. In its inaugural week, it re-released "The Devil's Rain," "Murder on the Orient Express" and "Young Frankenstein," the defunct El Paso Herald-Post reported in 1975.
Through the years, the Montwood theater expanded to a seven-screen facility and with it, offered many El Pasoans different experiences.
From being the only spot on the East Side to offer movies, to sticky floors and first dates, the theater on Montwood Square meant something to just about anyone old enough to remember.
"In middle school, we would always get dropped off and we thought we were all sorts of awesome for being at the movies on Saturday without our parents," Maria Monique responded via Facebook.
Chris Babcock called the theater a "Godsend" for being the only theater on the "far East Side."
Others, like Daniel Bustos remember crowding into a '77 Ford Pinto to watch Star Wars.
"It seem like such an adventure," Bustos recalled. Thirty-eight years after opening its doors, Montwood Movies 7 has gone through different owners and it is now a second-run theater. But despite the change, director Brian Mu oz said the location is still a popular spot for families, college students and youngsters on a budget."We are big on family. Of course our prices are really low to where a family of six -- instead of paying $80 at a big theater for a popcorn, drink and movie ticket--they come here and pay the cheaper bargain price. They get a free refill, large drink and large popcorn," Mu oz said. "We also get a lot of college students looking to do something in El Paso and they are on a budget."
Montwood Movies 7 is currently owned by Premiere Cinemas. Tickets are $2 for all shows with a $1 Tuesday special. According to its website, digital 3D movies are $2 per ticket.
"It's close to home and the price is good," said Eric Laurhammer as he bought a dollar ticket on Tuesday for "We are the Millers."
Tuesday was also the first time Andraia Avila and her 16-year-old daughter Alicia visited Montwood Movies 7. They too bought tickets to watch Jason Sudeikis' 110-minute comedy.
"This is our first time here. We came cause it was $2," Andraia said.
Luis Carlos Lopez may be reached at 546-6381
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