About Us

The Stanley Theater is a small town movie theater serving the residents of Stanley, WI and the surrounding community. We provide newer movies weekly at reasonable prices.

Each week, a new movie is featured beginning on Friday and generally runs nightly through Tuesday (Closed Wednesday and Thursday).  However please refer to specific movie times each week, they are subject to change.

We are a “Family Friendly” theater; showing family enjoyable rated movies: Rated G to PG-13. Occasionally, by popular request an R rated movie may be shown.

The Stanley Theater has been continuously run since its opening in 1936, by various owners.  Our mother, Cecilia (Janesich) Eslinger, purchased the Stanley Theater in 1968.  She ran the theater with her mother and brother with a minimal crash course in the movie business.  Soon she met the love of her life, Daniel Eslinger, a local dairy farmer and started a family.  The children have been very active in the running, cleaning, restoration and upkeep of the theater as they grew up.

The Eslinger family constantly strives to update and improve the building structure and interior. Most recent completed improvements include, central air conditioning, new carpeting in the inner lobby area and down the aisles of the auditorium. Other improvements in the past years include: a new roof, a new screen, and repainted auditorium walls – reflecting murals of the original 1936 design of the art deco period, and 7.1 Dolby Sound, and the replacement of the original seats.

The most outstanding improvement was dominating a Kickstarter Fundraising Campaign where the community stepped up to raise $65,000 in 21 days in order to purchase and install a digital projector in 2015, and abolish the film projector.  In 2018, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary of owning the Stanley Theater, Eslinger Family owned!  We work hard to make sure every customer is important and to be a participating member of our community, hence, we are officially named the "Stanley Theater Legacy."  For we will keep the legacy going in our family and share the community traditions of it's position on main street, and in our communities heart and family traditions.

In 2022, Stanley was devasted by a tornado on December 9th, 2021.  The Stanley Theater was a beacon offering shelter and electricity for those affected by the damage.  The Stanley Theater did however, recieve it's own amount of damage in way of roof tears, and the destruction of it's digital projector recently installed in 2015.  The Eslingers were forced to purchase a new Laser Digital Projector and updated Dolby Sound processor in 2023.

Annually, we put on FREE shows for the members of our community, at Christmas and Easter and other special occasions.

The Stanley Theater is now owned by the Stanley Theater Legacy group of Louis Eslinger, Gloria Eslinger and Theresa Pries ensuring that the legacy lives on to serve our community.  The Legacy group will honor the traditions that their mother Cecilia started and late father, Daniel "Mussy" Eslinger took pride in.  Together the movies will live on in Stanley, WI.  We recently announced that our Legacy group will be providing live entertainment acts as well with "Legacy Events" through live music, comedy, classic cinema, and more!


Watch a feature of our mother, Cecilia Eslinger, on PBS's Wisconsin Life: