As the Virginia Film Festival prepared to take over the Violet Crown Theater in downtown Charlottesville, another takeover was taking place behind the scenes.
Austin, Texas-based Elevate Entertainment Group, formerly known as EVO Entertainment, announced on October 23 that it will acquire all four of the Austin-based Violet Crown chain’s cinemas in the US, including the Charlottesville movie theater in the downtown mall as well. As locations in Austin and Dallas, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Elevate, which currently operates 15 locations across the U.S., with four additional locations in the pipeline, said it has a number of changes planned for its new contract in Charlottesville when the acquisition closes in December.
They said the name would not change. However, so will the staff and amenities.
“We are excited to enhance our offerings, bring on board current Violet Crown team members, and add new ones,” Elevate spokeswoman Emily Martin told The Daily Progress.
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Martin also said there will be updates to the bar and restaurant space on the first floor of Violet Crown, which has not been permanently occupied since Japanese restaurant Kama closed late last year.
“We have a number of exciting improvements planned for the space including the reopening of the bar, lounge and full kitchen,” Martin said.
Kama opened in 2019 shortly before the coronavirus outbreak. The owners attributed the closure to the “economic impact of Covid-19.”
Since its closure, the “Coming Soon” signs have been standing in the windows for nearly a year. Over the course of the film festival last week, a pop-up Jamaican restaurant, Rum Punch, took over the space.
The Charlottesville Violet Crown has 10 screens, and the acquisition of Violet Crown increases the number of screens within Elevate Entertainment Group to 172 nationwide.
Mitch Roberts, founder and CEO of Elevate and a fourth-generation cinema operator, has been growing his company at a rapid pace since 2014. Today, Elevate is the fastest-growing cinema entertainment center organization in the United States.
The acquisition of Violet Crown “represents an important milestone in the pursuit of our long-term vision for the future of cinema and entertainment,” Roberts said in a statement.
Roberts emphasized how important the Violet Crown brand is to him as an Austin local.
“Violet Crown is a brand close to my heart and I am honored to be trusted with the mission to preserve and expand its legacy,” he said.
Bill Banowski, founder and CEO of Violet Crown, said he has confidence in Roberts’ vision.
“Our journey with Violet Crown has been exceptional. We have developed a unique cinematic experience that meets the needs of movie fans, and that has not changed. I am confident that this acquisition will continue to provide the best cinematic experience for the community, and I am grateful that we have found a team with “With the resources, passion and vision to take Violet Crown to the next level.”
Banowsky will remain an equity partner in the company after the acquisition closes.
Before Violet Crown, the theater at 200 W. Main St. It has been a royal cinema for about 18 years. Regal closed the location in 2014. It reopened about a year later as Violet Crown, a move that effectively ended the Knoxville, Tennessee-based monopoly on the Charlottesville theater-going experience.
Reynolds Hutchins (202) 999-8601
@cvillereynolds on Twitter