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New owners at Movieland Cinemas in Coram making moviegoers feel like stars

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Matt Wilson ain’t afraid of no ghost!

That said, the new owner of Movieland Cinemas called a half-dozen Ghostbusters to stand watch over the movie theater in Coram Friday night.

Wilson and his family took over the theater last month and plan to give Long Island’s moviegoers the chance to feel like stars alongside iconic cinema characters. To celebrate opening night of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the Long Island Ghostbusters parked two decked-out ectomobiles in front of the theater and set up a novelty shop and photo-op area inside.

Children, many in tan Ghostbuster jumpsuits, lined up for parents and grandparents to take their pictures alongside the local ectoplasm experts. Brothers Chris and Dimitri Haritos started the group nearly 20 years ago when they dressed up and rolled out for Halloween fun.

The outfit has since grown their ranks, upgraded their traps and proton packs and been invited to parades, charity events for Toys for Tots, March of Dimes and the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as private events.

Wilson said having the Long Island Ghostbusters in the house is just the beginning for Movieland, now that he sealed a deal with a character experience company.

“Anybody who has their birthday party here will be able to do character packages and have a movie with the princess or with the superhero,” Wilson said “And when we get big premieres like ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and those big superhero movies, for sure we’re going to have heroes walking around here.”

Affordability and community

A Boys and Girl Scouts and church outreach leader in his hometown, Wilson aims to bring a similar community focus to Coram. He said he plans to begin hosting teen nights and showings for people with special needs, their care takers and family members.

Standard evening tickets are $10, but the theater offers a $5 matinee meal and a movie special for movie goers who dine at and bring a receipt from Bella Maria or La Bonita, the theater’s restaurant neighbors. The theater is located at 1850 Route 112.

Before owning a business, Wilson served in the U.S. Army. For his fellow veterans, as well as firefighters, police officers, medics, nurses and teachers, “Community Hero” tickets are $6 all day, every day.

“I think the strength of this place has always been affordability for a night out with friends or family,” Wilson said of the 20-year-old community staple. “We definitely want to keep that, people need a place to be social and not spend a fortune.”

Looking to host a variety of entertainment experiences, the theater is partnering with Long Island Gaming League to bring video games to the big screen. Wilson said he plans to introduce a Dojo Master tournament and a finale tournament for various sports video games in March. He expects both to draw large crowds of spectators.

He added that he wants the gaming events to spark teenagers’ interests in coding and software careers, and for his theater to foster independence for them on a night out with friends.

Family matters

Before ultimately deciding to take over Movieland, Wilson said he looked for a business his family could all take part in.

He and his wife Carolyn have three children: Kennedy, Harvey and Sloane. Although the oldest of the pack is only 10, they still call some shots. Wilson said they brainstorm new popcorn flavors, such as Italian herb and “ooey-gooey” Oreo, and recommend older films their dad should get license to play on the big screen, like “Indiana Jones” and Pixar classics.

They are not the only children enjoying the new business.

“I feel like a big kid,” Wilson said. “Everything about the movies is fun.”

Top: The Wilson family with some of the Long Island Ghostbusters