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Independent theater opens tonight in Sumter with 'Jaws'

BY IVY MOORE
Features contributor
Posted 7/12/19

"You're going to need a bigger boat."

Moviegoers around the world will recognize that line spoken by Roy Scheider in the iconic thriller and blockbuster film "Jaws." The new Firefly Cinema, opening tonight, will feature that 1975 film that made …

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Independent theater opens tonight in Sumter with 'Jaws'

Posted

"You're going to need a bigger boat."

Moviegoers around the world will recognize that line spoken by Roy Scheider in the iconic thriller and blockbuster film "Jaws." The new Firefly Cinema, opening tonight, will feature that 1975 film that made moviegoers around the world reconsider swimming in the ocean, especially at night.

Casey and Steven Staggs, both Sumter natives, have been movie fans since they were young children.

"We just really like movies," Casey said.

Casey has "too many favorites to pick just one," while Steven named "Forrest Gump" as his choice.

The Firefly Cinema represents a dream fulfilled for the couple - "a totally independent theater," said Steven, "that's less of a corporate theater."

While the name Firefly is reminiscent of the cult favorite scifi TV program that they love, he said they chose the name because of "the free-spirited nature" of fireflies.

While they plan to offer mostly classic films from the 1970s through the '90s, the Staggses will also show "independent films and documentaries" from time to time, Casey said.

Steven said, "We want to show stuff people didn't get to see when they came out originally. A lot of people were too young or not even born when 'Jaws' came out, for example," and others might want to see it again in a theater with others.

"We are also looking for things that had good box office or other little films that got good reviews but maybe didn't have such good box office. We will also look at art films, like anything at Cannes and Sundance (film festivals)."

Among films planned for future screenings are 1985's "Back to the Future" and the 2018 documentary on Mr. (Fred) Rogers, titled "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" The couple will also solicit suggestions for films from their audiences and through their website and Facebook page.

"We're looking for second-run films you can't see anywhere else."

Casey and Steven have done almost all the work themselves on converting a former business to a theater. They began work in May, obtained the necessary licenses, and since their facade was painted with the name of the theater, Steven said people have been stopping by to get more information. On Wednesday, a man who had noticed the theater walked in and inquired about its opening. He indicated that he planned to "check it out" and was intrigued by the concept.

Steven said he was "just the kind of movie lover we hope to attract."

The Firefly Cinema seats 52. Movie posters and memorabilia from Steven's collection decorate the walls. The projection system is high definition and features Sensurround sound.

Popcorn, traditional movie candies, beverages and other movie concessions will be available, with more substantial fare being added soon.

The Firefly Cinema, 1029 Broad St., will open tonight at 6:30 p.m. "Jaws" will be shown at 7 and 9:30 p.m. tonight and again on Sunday at noon. That will also be the regular schedule for future movies. Admission is $7, with discounts for military and seniors.

For more information, visit www.thefireflycinema.com, email thefireflycinema@gmail.com or call (803) 774-4660 during operating hours.