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DePauw pulls support for local cinema

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ashley Square Cinema may face a tougher year since losing a $10 fee per DePauw undergraduate that was used to provide low cost and free movies for students.
GREENCASTLE -- The city's only movie theater, Ashley Square Cinema, may have hit a new low. DePauw University announced recently it would no longer offer a subsidy to the cinema because of unresolved issues with theater owner Frank Katris.

For the past two years, Katris has had an arrangement with DePauw University allowing students to attend the theater for free during the week and $1 on weekends. Students also received half-price concessions.

DePauw was assessing each student enrolled at the school $10 as part of their student fees. That money went straight to the theater.

An e-mail sent to campus residents was sent this summer from Assistant Dean of Campus Life Greg Dillon stating there were numerous issues between Katris and the University.

Dillon stated in his e-mail, "A pattern of concerning behavior on the part of the theater ownership has emerged."

He also said the university tried to work out the issues because of the positive response from the student body for the low/no cost theater tickets.

"We had concerns about staying in a relationship where students' activity dollars were being used to support upgrades to the theater and yet not all of our students were welcome at the theater. We look forward to working with the town of Greencastle on other joint ventures," said Vice President and Dean of Student Services Cindy Babington.

Earlier this year, Katris appeared before the Putnam County Commissioners to request a county assessment per person in the county of $5 to $7 to make improvements to the theater.

In exchange for the assessment, county residents could attend movies at the cinema for free during the week and for $1 on Fridays and Saturdays. He claimed he would make money from concessions rather than tickets.

He told commissioners the money from the tax would go toward improvements in the cinema such as a digital projector and 3-D movie equipment.

According to Katris, more than 20,000 people visit the theater every year.

Commissioners did not agree to his request.

Katris is currently offering students up to age 13 a discounted $3 ticket price at the theater.

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I notice this only comes from DePauw's view. Did Katris turn down the opportunity to be interviewed or is this article just from DePauw's point of view?

-- Posted by vivera on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 5:37 AM

"----not all of our students were welcome at the theater." Would anyone care to expound on that? It sounds like there may be a real problem there.

-- Posted by ConnieJF on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 6:52 AM


-- Posted by Trying hard on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 7:05 AM

I did not know of this deal for DPU students. What the problem is, I have no idea from the article. Most businesses do not get subsidies from DPU or anyone else to operate. If the theater cannot make it on it's own, it should close.

-- Posted by not gullible on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 7:44 AM

Thank You Commissioners for not allowing this to happen. Not everyone has time to attend a movie and it would be unfair to assess each person in the county for $5-$7 that's just pure profit for him and he knows it.

This is a private business he is ultimately responsible for upgrades with revenue created.

If this guy wasn't so hard to get along with, maybe he wouldn't be making this desperate attempt to stay afloat and would have more business, desperate times call for desperate measures...

-- Posted by Reader2 on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 8:08 AM

"HOW ABOUT OFFERING THAT 10.00 DEAL TO THE "TOWNIES"? -- Posted by pointer"

I agree - why only Depaw?? I would pay for a pass to watch movies at a discount there. Why do Grencastle Residents not count?

-- Posted by luv2bmom2001 on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 8:25 AM

I would love to hear the FULL STORY!

-- Posted by Redsonia on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 8:42 AM

The article says he offered the deal to the taxpayers, but it was turned down. He charged DPU students $10 each, but he would have charged everyone else $5 to $7.

As for the rest, I would like to hear the owner's opinion. It sounds like not everyone was welcome, but maybe those who weren't welcome did something to deserve it. If DPU students caused a problem in the theater, he had every right to ask them to leave.

-- Posted by friendly on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 10:01 AM

I go to the Cinema 3 or 4 times a year, usually with 2 or 3 grandchildren and my wife. Cost for 3 kids, 2 adults and concessions is less than $40.00 on a Friday or Sat night. That isn't bad for a couple of hours of family entertainment. I do have a concern that the owner is a one man crew. He splits his time between the gate and the concession stand right up until he puts everything on hold and goes and starts the movie. He could really use a couple of part-time people for a couple of hours a night. I don't believe most of his revenue ideas will work, but he is at least TRYING to make a go of it.

Take your family to the movies here in Greencastle once in a while. It's not Metropolis, but it saves a bundle on concessions, gas and wear and tear on your car.

-- Posted by countyboy on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 2:16 PM

The cinema has received funds from DePauw. Where are the improvements that they were going to make including expanding the lobby, possibly adding a better theater.

-- Posted by greencastleparent on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 3:23 PM

If you have questions about the Depauw students who were treated badly just go to Yahoo and type in Ashley Square Cinema.Twelve reviews are listed there...most are very negative.

We go there sometimes on Sundays because it is cheap but the theater itself is in terrible condition.If the owner was making 10 bucks a student,where are the repairs???

It is sad that the old theater downtown--sorry can't remember the name right now-- was closed down.That was a long time ago I know. It at least had some character. My mom used to take us there when we were growing up. I am sure that we saw Grease there. That was about 1978.

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 3:26 PM

I personally worked for this theater from 2002-2005. I worked for the previous owners and they were wonderful, when they sold the theater to Frank we went from getting paid on time to not getting paid for 3-5 days after our dedicated pay day... Hints part of the reason for quitting.

How many of you know he also owned the little theater in Plainfield on the south side of 40 which is now shut down....

to Countyboy, 1. If Frank would pay his employees he would NOT have to run the place by himself. 2. If frank would have treated his employees with respect most of them would still be there for part time jobs seeing how 2 of the employees attend or currently graduated from DePauw University.

Let the theater close and have someone that can respect our community and the employees start a new theater.

I want to wrap this up by thanking the commissioners for putting a stop to his madness!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by lockemup on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 4:40 PM

Sounds as if this man doesn't know anything about running a business.Maybe someone will open up a theater on Indianapolis Road instead of another fast food joint.

-- Posted by bam on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 6:19 PM

As a DePauw student I hate to see an article that is titled "DePauw pulls support for local cinema". DePauw wants to support the local economy. President Brian Casey and Mayor Murray both have expressed their ideas to make Greencaslte & DePauw one. When the local newspaper titles something like this it just puts off or distorts the dream for DePauw and Greencastle "townies" to come together.

Speaking of the man at the theater, I hate to say this as well but he is quite rude. He has been to me personally as well as my friends and I think that is very disrespectful. Greencastle citizens as well as ALL DePauw students should be treated fairly and with the same respect.

I'm not sure who made this comment but I say shut this theater down and get a new owner, preferably someone with a little more respect for human beings.

I have three more years at DePauw and I hope to meet and continue to run into friendly citizens of Greencastle. This is such a great community and it cannot be given the wrong image by an article like this one with the title as it is. DePauw and Greencaslte needs to and MUST support one another.

-- Posted by aen2012 on Fri, Aug 28, 2009, at 1:47 PM

I agree emily12-we do need something that we can all enjoy though-I would be for theater-arcades and maybe throw in some other things for fun-we live here all year long. Glad I have a decent place to get my toe nails done correctly for now. Had to throw that humor in. Oh my worst nightmare would be Chucky Cheese-Avon can have that.Oh and don't everyone forget we do have a Family Video store even though blockbusters is leaving-we need to support them to keep them here.

-- Posted by bam on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 7:59 AM


Do you really think Greencastle would be able to survive without DePauw and all the money it puts into the G'castle economy?

-- Posted by nativeillinoisan on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 2:28 PM

Ok, well lets just close down DePauw and see what happens to this community. When I first made my comment I didn't even me economically need each other but it is true. Greencastle is a wonderful town and we should portray it as a great college-town and a great place to raise a family.

-- Posted by aen2012 on Mon, Aug 31, 2009, at 6:48 PM

DePauw... all is not what it seems.. nor is the sudden resignation of Matt Walker. Why has no one followed up? Is it because it's DePauw? I hope it's not health or family related, but all over the country those in positions of trust are scrutinized and reported on. Look at Rick Pitino, Rick Majerus etc. You even tear apart your very own when they do wrong... yet no one questions why the highly regarded coach vacates. Very hush hush... i guess respect of privacy only counts if you are with DePauw. My intention isn't to disrespect the Coach... just the Banner's lack of objectivity.

-- Posted by awaybutnotlost on Tue, Sep 1, 2009, at 4:58 PM
Response by Banner Graphic:
DePauw is a private university and does not have to give any details about anything that happens there if they choose not to. Even if they were bound by Open Door Laws, which they are not, personnel issues are kept private. We have not reported any details about Walker's departure for one reason: We don't have any. And unless we get something official, we won't. We don't report rumors.

Hit a nerve! Investigative reporting is real news. not reporting what everyone already knows from other news sources like the Associated Press. I have no idea what the rumors are and really don't care. However, news is news, some break it...others just repeat it. Who is buttering your bread?

-- Posted by awaybutnotlost on Wed, Sep 2, 2009, at 9:24 PM

Without the Depaw Students here for 9 months out of the year and without the tax dollars from the University, Greencastle would be a crappy version of Spencer. Anybody been there lately? That place survives on two highways running through (and will probably die when the 69 expansion is done), and it still looks like a dying town. Show some respect to one of the "founders of the feast". Jobs, tax dollars, revenue dollars are all things this town ddoes not need to loose. Stop bashing the university! Concessions like the original agreement made with the theater and the university, is up to the business man/woman. It appears the owner of the theatre thought he would make more than what he did out of the deal, so now he's sour about it, and taking it out on DPU students.

As for the theatre itself, I can get a better movie experience in my home. Now Metropolis....WOW...What a theatre, If we had had one screen in town that was like that, people may be willing to pay the normal price to see a movie. Let's hope someone takes a chance, and upgrades poor old Ashley Square Cinema, and maybe opens Noble Romans, and Delaney's again. Those were the days. A movie, dinner, desert and a walk on campus, right here in your own town. I have a dream!!!! All you haters need to move to Spencer, and see how the other half live.

-- Posted by Eagle22 on Thu, Sep 3, 2009, at 1:02 PM

To Eagle22: I couldn't agree more with what you just said.

-- Posted by aen2012 on Thu, Sep 3, 2009, at 11:17 PM

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