New first-run movie theater premieres in Columbia — and tickets are only $8

Spotlight Capital 8 cinema
Spotlight Capital 8 cinema jwilkiinson@thestate.com

Columbia has a new movie theater.

The Meeting Place Church of Greater Columbia and Spotlight Cinemas have remodeled and reopened the former Capital 8 cinema on Columbia Mall Road, which has been vacant for nearly a decade.

The spiffy eight-screen movie theater features first-run movies for the low ticket price of $8. On Wednesday, that price drops to $6 all day, theater manager Jacob Housley said.

Now playing at the theater are “Replicas,” “The Upside,” “A Dog’s Way Home,” “Escape Room,” “Bumblebee,” “Aquaman,” “The Mule” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

The new theater is located in the church’s 23-acre strip mall complex south of Columbia Place Mall in an S.C. Opportunity Zone. Opportunity Zones provide federal capital gains tax breaks designed to encourage long-term private investments to kick-start investment in distressed communities.

“This project is one of the first of what we hope are many successful, impactful Opportunity Zone developments in Columbia, and we look forward to seeing more for this exciting time for our city and the people of Columbia,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said in the news release.

The theater promises to be a boost for the Columbia Place area, which has seen three of its four main anchor stores leave in recent years. Richland County has since purchased those anchor buildings — Sears, Dillard’s and Burlington Coat Factory — to possibly turn into government offices.

Spotlight also owns a discount theater in St. Andrews.

“When I met Bishop Freeman with The Meeting Place Church, I knew we’d become fast friends and business associates,” Rick Phillips, owner of Spotlight Cinemas, said in a news release. “Hosting moviegoers in an affordable, clean and relaxing movie theater is very important to me.”

The Meeting Place Church bought the 200,000-square-foot complex on Columbia Mall Boulevard in 2017, according to the news release, “with a goal to create a spiritual meeting place for all people from all backgrounds, including economic growth in its mission.”

“We have enjoyed introducing ourselves to the community since opening this location in 2017,” said Bishop Eric J. Freeman, the church’s pastor and founder. “We look forward to more businesses finding a home in our complex and bringing a robust center for family- friendly fun, entertainment and worship to the local community.”

For more information about the church go to www.themeetingplacechuch.org or call 803-419-8884. For movie times, visit spotlightcinemas.com/capital8/.