Geneva theater opening

Mark Immer, Lake Geneva, has a good laugh Friday evening after ticket taker Marie Frederick tells him that he bought the first ticket to the premier opening of the new Geneva Theater. 

For the first time in about a decade, the Geneva Theater, 244 Broad St., heard the restless shuffle of a show time crowd in its lobby and the smell of popcorn in the air.

More about that later.

On Friday at 7 p.m., the renewed Geneva Theater opened with a showing of the action movie “Logan,” based on the Marvel X-Men comic book characters Wolverine and Charles Xavier. A second showing was scheduled for 9:45 p.m.

No movie spoilers here.

Only the main 220-seat theater was open for business. But it was spacious and comfortable enough for the 27 movie fans who showed up for the opening.

The screen was wide, the picture was clear, the sound was awesome and the movie was intense.

Right up until the concessions crew fired up the popcorn machine.

With 10 minutes left in the flick and the fight between the good guys and bad guys still undecided, the fire alarm went off.

The alarm sounds like an angry bird on steroids and the alarm system turns on the lights and shuts down the projector.

Everyone filed into the lobby, where it was clear that smoke from some overheated oil had apparently triggered the smoke alarm located almost directly above the popcorn machine.


Shad Branen, who owns the theater and paid for its makeover with the help of a city grant through its now-defunct Tax Increment Finance district, could only smile ruefully.

More than one patron, however, commented that at least everyone knows the theater fire alarm works.

Theater staff led the customers on a tour through the building and gave an explanation of how the digital projectors use hard drives rather than film to show movies.

And everyone got free popcorn while waiting for the movie’s big finish.

Police and fire personnel had to do a quick inspection before the show could go on.

And yeah, the good guys win. Sorta.

Daniel Colwell, theater manager, said the theater had 46 paying customers on Saturday. He did not have the figures for Sunday.

Those who want to learn more about the theater and show times can go to

Show times during the week will be 4:30 and 7:15 p.m.

The theater is scheduling a 7 p.m. Thursday preview showing of “Skull Island,” a King Kong reboot, Colwell said. Tickets are on sale at the theater.

Tickets for evening shows are $10 for adults, $8 for kids 3 to 11 and seniors 62 and older.

Tickets for matinees before 6 p.m. at $8 for everyone.

Folks with questions can call Colwell at (262) 806-6108 or email him at

Chris Schultz has been a reporter for more than 40 years. He has been with the Lake Geneva Regional since 2010. He covers the Lake Geneva City Council and the Lake Geneva area schools.