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SUMMER SNEAKS | WHATEVER

Jim Edwards / Theater Owner

May 02, 1999|STEVE HOCHMAN

Forgive Jim Edwards if he cuts to the front of the line to see "Star Wars." He owns the theater. Edwards, 54, is president and CEO of Irvine-based Edwards Theatres, which has grown from the one Monterey Park facility his dad opened in 1930 to more than 725 screens at 90 venues in California and Idaho, including state-of-the-art showcases with stadium seating and wall-to-wall screens.

NO LONE 'STAR': "We can't survive on one title, and the summer looks very good in addition to 'Star Wars.' All the studios have a good lineup this summer. 'Austin Powers' will be very big, and 'Tarzan' and the new Adam Sandler movie, 'Big Daddy.' And before 'Star Wars,' there's 'The Mummy.' "

A PERSONAL CHOICE: "I have high hopes for the new 'Thomas Crown Affair.' I remember seeing the original years ago."

THE FIRST TIME: "I have a little memory of seeing 'King Solomon's Mines,' which my dad took me to in the '50s. And I also remember seeing a 3-D film called 'House of Wax.' "

REEL PEOPLE: "I don't go to a lot of the [industry] screenings. I like to go out to the movies on an opening night or weekend where there's an enthusiastic public involved. I like to see the audience reaction."

MORE, MERRIER: "I've never in my life had a feeling that there could be too many movies released. I'm being a little facetious, but we need a lot of movies. There are a lot of tastes and expectations, and we want to serve them all."

FEEDING THE FANATICS: "What we have done in the past [for people lining up days before an opening] and will continue is make concession services available. It's entertaining to see people in line, and it becomes an event in itself. We certainly try to keep them happy and entertained."

FUTURAMA: "I understand George Lucas is doing test screenings of digital prints [of "Star Wars"]this summer. We hope to be part of that. I don't think as a customer any of us care how the product is delivered, whether in a truck or by satellite. But digital delivery will happen."

THE GOOD LIFE: "There are some upscale services being provided, but it's yet to be proven how deep the concept will go, such as VIP or premium theaters that include food and beverage service, valet parking, a more intimate auditorium with luxurious seating for maybe $12 or $15 a ticket. We aren't operating a theater like that, but we're looking at others."

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