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'Gold' Park Theater to open April 15

3-D glasses have become part of Pam Wasche Wilson's and husband Scott's accessories at Park Theater. The glasses will be distributed to movie-goers arriving for 3-D films. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Movie buffs, prepare to be captivated when the new 37-foot screen comes alive at Park Theater Friday, April 15.

"Rio," the animated adventure comedy of Blu, a domesticated Macaw from Moose Lake, Minn. that is bound for Brazil, will be the premiere in the new "gold, theater one," boasting state-of-the-art Dolby digital 3-D and 7.1 sound, the highest grade available.

Viewers will be provided 3-D glasses and swept into dazzling cinematography, enhanced by the state-of-the-art screen, viewed from 24-inch, high-back, body-conforming rockers. The new theater is wheelchair accessible.

The peripheral scope of the screen bring viewers into the adventures, explained owner Pam Wasche Wilson, who with husband Scott developed the theater's renovation.

"I'm watching previews. That's my entertainment," she joked of the mesmerizing effect of the clarity on the enormous screen.

Planning for the remodeling and upgrades for the Park Rapids landmark began in 2009. The owners originally talked of adding digital and 3-D to one of the theaters, but the need for new seating set the stage for the vast overhaul.

The theater retains the ambiance of the 1930s, the era of its inception.

Local contractors were used "as much as possible," Washe Wilson said of the project.

Three theaters now welcome movie buffs, with private groups welcome to view cinemas or use the screens for PowerPoint presentations. Media interface can provide live Metropolitan Opera performances, for example, as well as sporting and other special events.

Park Theater also features three private viewing rooms, including the Sweetheart Suite, with food delivery an option.

Theater-goers will discover a new snack menu, including White Castle cheeseburgers, jalapeno burgers and chicken breast sandwiches; slushies and cappuccino and hot chocolate. Frozen yogurt bars are on the horizon.

The gold theater, seating just under 200, opens with a 7 p.m. performance April 15. Show times are 5:15 and 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and weeknights at 7 p.m. A matinee performance of "Rio" is also planned at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 16.

There will be drawings for prizes and popcorn and pop specials

"Rio" is a tale of a rare species of a spix macaw, Blu, that is a resident at a bookstore in Moose Lake. He is the last male of his kind. When scientists learn that another macaw was spotted in South America and that the macaw, Jewel, is female, they take him out of Minnesota and send him to Rio de Janeiro to meet her. While there, he learns to confront his fear of flying in order to win her heart...