Movie subscription plan saves Oakhurst theater

The Met Cinema was built in Oakhurst in 1986The Met Cinema was built in Oakhurst in 1986The effort of three childhood friends paid off in the last hours of 2012 as Oakhurst movie theater The Met Cinema reached its 3,000 membership goal to save the beloved establishment.

North Fork filmmaker Matt Sconce and former high school friends Keith Walker and James Nelson came together last month on the plan to revive the theater after financial burdens forced its closure.

With a deadline of Dec. 31 to get 3,000 community members, or roughly 15 to 20 percent of the Oakhurst area signed up, the three achieved that goal on New Year's Eve with only hours to spare.

The plan allows members to watch around ten movies a month for $19.95 with family plans starting at $34.95 for two with an additional $15 for each adult after that and $12 for children.

For now, Sconce said the team is working toward a date of Feb. 1 to reopen the theater, which includes forging contracts with movie studios and securing concessions and other supplies.

"We're trying to get an espresso bar to offer milkshakes and things like that," Sconce said. "We're also trying to offer a little more variety of concessions and make sure the popcorn is the best ever."

The first order of business, however, will be cleaning areas of the building that have gone untouched since the business closed in November. Sconce said community members are welcome to pitch in by cleaning up the place and repainting.

Those interested in helping out can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. while those wanting to sign up for a monthly subscription can do so at savethemet.com. No one will be charged for their subscriptions until the theater is officially open.

Sconce said the roughly $50,000 pledged covers the first month's operating costs, but more members will be needed in the near future to replace carpeting and seats, install better sound equipment and lease digital projectors that will be needed when 35 mm film is no longer distributed.

The plan also provides the freedom to schedule new releases in one theater while screening independent, local or even class films in another or even hosting Halo tournaments and other crowd-pleasing events.

He added that the three are also open to the possibility of buying the theater from its current owners if plans pan out.

They're not sweating the endeavor, Sconce said, as Oakhurst residents proved their love for the 30-year-old theater over the last month, many of them dressing up as superheroes and waving signs on the street to generate support for the plan.

"This community showed that you don't have to let the icons of  your community go away," he said. "We have power as a group of people that care to say thing like that and we're going to make this mountain community what we want it to be."