Photo Credit: Bishop Eric J. Freeman
Inside Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8: The First Black-Owned Movie Theater In Columbia, SC
Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8 is the first Black-owned movie theater in Columbia, South Carolina. The theater, which was founded by Bishop Eric J. Freeman, ended 2021 on a high note, after suffering a downturn from the pandemic in 2020.
“2021 was a surprisingly strong year, considering the circumstances. We’re extremely grateful for everyone’s support,” Freeman told Travel Noire.
Inspired to creating a premier first-run cinema experience “for the community, by the community”, Spotlight Cinemas offers first-run movies that one would see at any mainline first-run cinema.
“We do, however, have the tangible benefit of being a much more organic and homegrown experience than your typical conglomerate movie house,” he said.
Aside from quality concessions, quality facilities and a first-class operator, Freeman mentioned that Spotlight has the distinct advantage of a product that unmistakably represents the community it serves.
“We have great joy in knowing that our community takes pride in a theater that belongs to them.”
Freeman also shared that the business receives strong support from the Black community in Columbia since the theater was opened.
“We’ve seen phenomenal support from the Black community in our area. It’s not uncommon for patrons to drive from throughout the region to support our cinemas.”
As a Black-owned business, he said that his biggest struggle has been learning the importance of optimizing every opportunity and relationship.
“I’ve learned (and am still learning) that we were not created to do “great things” in isolation. It truly does take “a village” to raise up anything of significance.”
Currently, there’s only one Spotlight Cinemas. However, Freeman said that he is planning to expand the brand soon.
“Our co-developer operates cinemas throughout the East Coast, and we’d love to partner with them on future projects. We love the Spotlight Cinemas brand. I’ve found that if you stay positive, generous and grateful, great things can happen.”
The theater offers affordable movie prices for the entire family. Adult tickets are $8 and all shows on Wednesdays are $6. The movie theater is located at 201 Columbia Mall Blvd Suite.
You can follow Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8 on Instagram by clicking here.