?: courtesy of aksarben cinema
“We love living in Omaha and competing here with other theatres. Omaha is at its best – and movie-going is at its best – when every theatre is competing to make the experience as good as it can be.” – Bill Barstow, co-owner, Aksarben Cinema
Bill Barstow and his family love movies – that’s really what it comes down to. “Our goal is to be the most inclusive, accessible big screen experience in the city,” Barstow says.
He and his wife Colleen own eight theatres in Nebraska and Iowa under the banner of Main Street Theatres Inc. Their flagship location, Aksarben Cinema, opened in 2010 in Aksarben Village. The 10-screen theatre engages audiences with a proprietary ACX (Aksarben Cinema Experience) presentation, which “brings you into the movie with premium large format screens, dazzling colors and incredible sound.”
The tech is state-of-the-art, but the family’s guiding principle is simple: treat moviegoers like guests in the family living room.
“Our job is to welcome you, get you everything you need to enjoy the show, and get out of the way,” Barstow says.
In 2020, the Barstows will open the newest addition to Main Street Theatre’s “midwestern circuit” – ACX Cinema 12 near 204th and Harrison Streets. Moviegoers can count on 12 cutting-edge auditoriums, each with laser projection and Dolby Atmos sound.
“Our premium screen will be 75-foot ACX Infinite experience, and we are building an outdoor auditorium for movies under the stars,” Barstow says.
The advantage of being locally-owned, he says, is the ability to connect authentically with people who live here: “We get excited about Berkshire weekend and all the people it brings to Omaha. We organize field trips with local schools, open caption shows to welcome all movie-goers, and hold fundraisers for local charities. We strive every day to be a valuable member of the community because Omaha is our hometown.”
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