A History of Mitchell Theatres
Mitchell Theatres, a subsidiary of Elkhart, Kansas-based Mitchell Farms, is a third-generation family business owned by Kenny and Linda Mitchell; Brian and Rosa Mitchell; Brent and Debra Mitchell; and Cory and Kendra Ramsey. Mitchell Farms grows corn, wheat and milo on 35,000 acres, about half of which is irrigated, across western Kansas.
The Mitchell family first invested in the theatre business in 2000 when they built and leased their first theatre, Northridge Cinema 5. This was two years after the Mitchells purchased Northridge Shopping Center in Guymon, Oklahoma, in the state’s Panhandle. Northridge Cinema 5 soon became Northridge Cinema 8 when the Mitchell family added three screens to the theatre in 2003. In July 2005, Northridge Cinema 8 became the first theatre owned and operated by the family when Mitchell Theatres, LLC acquired the theatre operations.
By 2006, eager to expand into their home state of Kansas, the Mitchell family purchased Chisholm Trail Shopping Center in Newton, Kansas. Along buying the shopping center, Mitchell Theatres purchased and renovated its second theatre, Chisholm Trail Cinema 8. Pleased with this investment, Mitchell Theatres purchased the Southgate Cinema 4 in Liberal, Kansas, in May 2009. After extensive renovations, the four-screen theatre reopened as the expanded Southgate Cinema 6.
Mitchell Theaters was on the move again in January 2010 with the acquisition of Sequoyah Cinema 8 in Garden City, Kansas. As it did with Southgate Cinema 6 and Chisholm Trail 8, Mitchell Theatres remodeled and renovated the theatre, with a grand reopening in autumn 2010.
In April 2011, Mitchell Theatres acquired two additional Kansas-based theatres, Cowley Cinema 8 in Winfield and Central Cinema 6 in El Dorado. Shortly thereafter, Mitchell Theatres expanded into Missouri in July 2011 when it acquired Belton Cinema 8 in Belton. The theatre was remodeled and refurbished the following year.
Mitchell Theatres enjoyed its busiest year in 2012 when it added four properties, expanding its reach to New Mexico and Colorado. In July 2012, Mitchell Theatres acquired two New Mexico locations, Storyteller Cinema 7 in Taos and Starlight Cinema 8 in Los Lunas. Both were remodeled and renovated the following year. Around the same time, Mitchell Theatres purchased and revamped Skyline Cinema 8 in Dillon, Colorado. And by September of that year, Mitchell Theatres completed construction of Lakeside Cinema 6, a new six-screen theatre in Woodward, Oklahoma.
Mitchell Theatres continued its New Mexico expansion in 2013 with the purchase and subsequent remodeling of Dreamcatcher Cinema 10 in Espanola, just north of Santa Fe. In 2015, Mitchell Theatres moved into Arizona with the purchase of Oasis Cinema 9 in Nogales. The lobby, concession and front facade of nine-screen cinema were remodeled that same year.
Returning to its Elkhart roots, Mitchell Theatres acquired the Doric Theatre, a historic landmark in western Kansas, in 2016. The Doric was built in 1918 and was the area’s home for silent films and live Vaudeville performances for many years. Closed in the early 1980s, the Doric Theatre underwent a complete renovation and redesign, for not only film presentation, but in sticking to its roots, is now a venue for view live theater and other performances. The Doric became Mitchell’s first "boutique" theatre including Oscar's Lounge, which serves beer, wine, cocktails and an expanded food menu. Along with mainstream movies, the Doric also screens art house and independent films, a first for the area. In conjunction with the Doric remodel, another screen was added to Sequoyah Cinema 8, making it Sequoyah Cinema 9. Both projects were completed in 2016.
In May 2017, Mitchell Theatres expanded to the Texas Panhandle with the purchase of the historic Morley Theatre in Borger. Known locally as “The Morley,” it was built in 1947 and designed by noted theatre architect Jack Corgan of Dallas. It was originally operated by the Griffith-Consolidated theatre chain. The Morley, with its Grande Auditorium, is one of the few theaters still operating with balcony seating. Mitchell Theatres fully renovated the now five-screen cinema, upgrading sound and adding new seats and recliners on the ground floor of the Grande Auditorium. Mitchell Theatres also expanded the building to include an arcade, party room and Oscar’s Lounge for customers to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Mitchell Theatres owns and operates 107 screens in 15 locations across Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, with more than 325 employees. As of 2020, Mitchell Theatres was the 47th-largest movie theatre chain in the United States. The family-owned business is proud of its success and actively seeks opportunities to grow and expand throughout the Midwest.