The Queen Theater in downtown Bryan is officially reopened and was celebrated for its return on Wednesday night with a VIP grand opening party with city officials and Project to Save the Queen partners.
The newly renovated theater features a main screening area with large comfortable seating, a bar area with balcony seating, and a dining and lounge area with private screen.
The City of Bryan owns the theater; however, Entertainment Property Management and Consulting, owned by Mark Schulman, is responsible for the management of the Queen, including operating concessions and catering operations, negotiating contracts with film distributors, box office operations -office and more. Shulman’s Movie Bowl Grille Company will provide food and service operations.
In 1939, Edna Schulman rebuilt and reopened the Queen Theatre, which was originally built in 1885 as a hotel. The theater operated from 1939 until the mid-1970s. After undergoing a revitalization effort by community members, The Queen reopened in 2018 before closing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Downtown Bryan Association, now known as Destination Bryan, then transferred ownership of the Queen to the city.
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Schulman said the theater was the original vision of his grandparents.
“When the city got the queen back, I said [Bryan Deputy City Manager] Joey Dunn, ‘Hey, I heard you got the queen back.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, do you want it?’ And so it ended like that and it was awesome,” Schulman said. “We have a passion for it and we have the management company that can do it, and it was a wonderful opportunity for us and the town of Bryan to bring the Queen back to who she was meant to be.”
Some of the renovations include replacing the existing screen with a wall-to-wall retractable screen system, upgraded projection and sound systems, and a prep kitchen.
Bryan City Councilman Bobby Gutierrez said he was amazed at the details included in the renovations.
“It’s like an IMAX theater; the sound system has been completely redone and there are so many new ones that look like the original. Everyone is ready to get out there, venture out and explore and the Queen is a great place to start,” he said. “Some furniture and woodwork even came from the original building; it’s a legacy and I’m glad the city has a partnership with Schulman’s management group.
Bryan Mayor Andrew Nelson said the city voted unanimously to contract out management of the Queen and Palace theaters to Shulman’s entertainment company.
“The agreement provided for an investment of at least $250,000 in the building to improve it. [Schulman] put in a brand new theater sound system, a new video system, the bar, he invested over a million dollars in that building and it’s still owned by the City of Bryan,” Nelson said. “His commitment to making and creating an interesting, first-class theater in downtown Bryan is to be commended. We are excited to see what they are doing. The lounge area is wonderful and the bar is wonderful. As mayor, I so appreciate their commitment to getting it right. The fact that we’re going to have first-run movies here is a delight.
Nelson said that in response to the theater closing in 2020 due to the pandemic, residents will want to come out and visit the Queen now that it is up and running.
“We’re in a post-vaccinated world, people are able to go back to life. We’ve gone from this pandemic to an epidemic,” he said. “I think it’s time for us to go back to social gatherings and I can’t think of a more interesting place to do that than downtown at the Queen Theatre.”
Nelson also thanked many contributors who prevented the theater from being demolished.
“We risked having this whole building destroyed, and people like [former] Councilman Ben Hardeman, Jim Singleton, Stephanie Sale and hundreds of other community members who donated money, time and materials were able to save this building and return it to a theater,” he said. -he declares.
The film’s premiere screening will be “The Batman” on March 17 at 110 S Main St. in Bryan.
To buy tickets and see schedules, visit queenbryantx.com.