NEW VENUE FOR UH FOOTBALL
Warriors fans enjoy game in movie theater
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
The crowds cheered, threw up their hands in the touchdown sign, then settled back into their plush, stadium-style seating in the dimly-lit, popcorn-scented, air-conditioned atmosphere of a movie theater.
Warrior fans sold out Consolidated Theater's Ko'olau Stadium 10 theaters tonight for the University of Hawai'i's football game against San Jose State, watching possibly the largest screen — 15-by-32 feet — showing the game in Hawai'i.
"I thought it sounded cool," Joshua Massey said. "I came because of my friend, who has way better seats than me."
Massey, 27, and Sven Anders, 46, both of Kane'ohe, said they usually see the games in person.
Massey and Anders were sitting in the front row, but both said they would return to the theater to watch the game — but Massey "would come back, but come earlier than 5 p.m. (to get better seating)."
During the pregame, the only sounds were the televised feed and the crunching of popcorn. But some clapped when K5 play-by-play announcer Jim Leahey revealed that Inoke Funaki would be the starting quarterback over injured Tyler Graunke.
"We didn't know if we could be loud or not," Massey said, of the hesitant fans who were unsure if they were supposed to abide by typical theater etiquette.
A completion from Funaki to Malcolm Lane for the Warriors' first play of the game received cheers, and from then on the Warriors received appropriate applause or groans from the 134 gathered in the theater. Not surprisingly, Kealoha Pilares' two touchdown runs collected the largest reaction, including several fans throwing their arms upward to signify a touchdown.
The viewing arose out of Ko'olau general manager Art Downing's love of Warrior football.
"I work on Saturdays, and I'm always in a rush to get out of here," he said. "Now, I don't have to wait to see what the score is."
Usher Chris Johnson, 16, said the theater was more crowded than usual for the football game.
"The way the theater is doing, even if it's a newer movie, there are still some rows empty," he said. "But this is full. I didn't expect it to be this full."
Downing agreed: "This is amazing. At this time of year, no one is coming to theaters. (This time) We're sold out."
Watching at Ko'olau Theater was "very convenient," Massey said. "I get irritated with (the Aloha Stadium) traffic."
"My wife would rather have me come here than go to the stadium," Anders said. "Sometimes it's hard to get out of there."
For more of this story, see tomorrow's edition of The Honolulu Advertiser.
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.