A red carpet and revolving spotlight outside the Met Cinema Friday night marked a new future for Oakhurst's only movie theater -- one that seemed bleak only three months earlier.
Three childhood friends, James Nelson, Keith Walker and Matt Sconce, all raised in the Mountain Area, celebrated the theater's reopening with more than 100 people March 8 during the Grand Opening -- a party following more than three months of hard work to save the Met after its doors unexpectedly closed Nov. 1.
The trio's new theater membership model, and their extensive theater renovations and additions -- including an espresso bar and two new digital film projectors -- is proving a success, and a vision that's been welcomed by more than 3,000 new "Met Heroes" who have purchased memberships.
The Grand Opening culminated with a 9:45 p.m. showing of "Oz the Great and Powerful" although five films have been playing on each of the theater's five screens since March 1.
"It's really great to see the community pull together," said Nabil Reed, who was hired back as a projectionist with brother Micah after the Met closed. "This community is full of heroes. Matt and James and Keith set up a great plan and said, 'Hang onto this shooting star' ...
"The theater is a huge part of everyone who's grown up here. It's been the heart of Oakhurst for 25 years. When it closed, it really got people's attention, and it couldn't have reopened without everyone putting their piece of the puzzle in -- doing their part."
"It's been a magical night," Walker said Friday. "It's been beyond amazing to see this as a reality ... I've been coming to this parking lot every day for months and it's usually empty, and I will never forget the first night that there were people here. That's the moment it was real. It was like, we built it, and they came."
The "magical night" was perfectly complemented with the late night showing of Disney's "Oz" -- a movie about how a town of people create magic together to save their city.
"It's been a community effort to make it a success," said Ahwahnee resident Nancy Harmelin of the Met's reopening. "A lot of people have been praying for this. A lot of people came together, making it happen."