In first year, Skylight Cinema in downtown Bentonville beats expectations

by Jeff Della Rosa ( 1,613 views 

Skylight Cinema at 350 S.W. A St. in Bentonville exceeded expectations in its first year after opening Nov.. 9, 2017.

Six-screen movie theater Skylight Cinema in downtown Bentonville exceeded expectations in its first year by nearly 15%, not including screenings during the Bentonville Film Festival and private events, said Jared Addison, general manager. The five-auditorium, 363-seat theater with a full-service restaurant and bar opened Nov. 9, 2017.

The theater sold more than 100,000 admission tickets in its first year, and ticket revenue was about $1 million, Addison said. Including sales from restaurant and bar The Cutting Room, top-line revenue was more than $2.1 million. From Thursday to Sunday, staff wait on customers at their seats in the auditoriums, take orders and return with their order as if they are in a restaurant, and on those nights, a customer who purchases a $10 ticket will on average spend another $10 on food.

“It definitely opens up another avenue for additional revenue,” Addison said.

The Cutting Room opens daily at 5 p.m., except on weekends. It opens at noon on the weekends. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, a shortened version of the menu is available.

The theater has two screens in its largest auditorium, and at first, people were skeptical that there would be a delay between the screens. “It’s spot on,” he said. “The sound quality and the picture quality are phenomenal.”

Other unique aspects are the largest auditorium has a flat floor, the screens are higher than average, and customers can recline in their seats. These aspects offer the theater company an opportunity to expand to other locations without the expense of installing stadium seating.

Skylight looks to open locations throughout the United States, including in Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia and northern and southern California. By 2020, the theater’s Austin-based owner, DuOpt Bentonville LLC, plans to move its headquarters to Bentonville.