Category Archives: New Theatres

Arclight Cinemas Announces Sixth Southern California Multiplex

Arclight Hollywood and the Cinerama Dome

Arclight Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome (Credit: BudCat14/Ross)

Last October we got wind that a new multiplex was being proposed for Santa Monica Place, a mall in Santa Monica, California. These plans were confirmed earlier today when Arclight Cinemas announced they had entered into an agreement with Macerich, the mall’s owner, to open a 14 screen cinema at Santa Monica Place by mid-2015. Unlike some of its existing locations, Arclight may find it slightly more difficult to achieve success in Santa Monica.

The theatre will occupy 44,250 square feet on the third floor of the mall, just above Bloomingdale’s. Santa Monica Place was originally designed by architect Frank Gehry and opened in 1980. It underwent an extensive multi-million dollar remodel starting in 2007, which gutted the inside and removed the mall’s roof, turning it into an indoor/outdoor facility. Since the mall reopened in 2010, the third floor has been occupied by L3, a seldom used venue rented for events and parties.

Arclight Cinemas already operates five other multiplexes throughout Southern California, including cinemas in El Segundo, Hollywood, La Jolla, Pasadena and Sherman Oaks. The circuit will be opening its first East Coast location in Bethesda, Maryland later this year and has broken ground on a location in Chicago, Illinois which is scheduled for a 2015 debut.

Ever since Pacific Theatres launched Arclight Cinemas back in the early 2000s, the circuit has garnered a reputation for offering the premiere movie-going experience in Los Angeles, catering to the regions cineasts and serious film buffs. Arclight is considered one of the pioneers in premium mix-use cinemas, helping establish the format with amenities such as a lobby restaurant and bar, gourmet concessions, black box auditoriums, stadium seating with extra leg room, no late entries, reserved seating, a ban on advertisements before screenings and an eclectic mix of big budget blockbusters and art house movies.

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Sundance Cinemas Brings Its Art House Mentality To Los Angeles

Sundance Sunset CinemaThe opening of the first Sundance Cinemas in Los Angeles seems a perfect way to bring summer to a close. The new theatre opened in the space once occupied by the Sunset 5 which Laemmle Theatres operated for two decades before it was shuttered last December. The new venue has been named Sundance Sunset Cinema and, much like the Sunset 5 before it, will feature mostly independent and art house titles. It opened on August 31st.

Sundance Sunset Cinema is the fifth location to be opened by Sundance Cinemas, which operates theatres in Houston, TX, Madison, WI, San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA. A sixth location in Westchester, NY is planned for later this year. The circuit is part of the Sundance Group, the corporate entity that houses all of multi-hyphenate Robert Redford’s Sundance related businesses, including the annual festival. The actor/director, who grew up in Los Angeles, recently told KCRW radio host Warren Olney on “Which Way LA“, that the opening of Sundance Sunset Cinema is a bit of a homecoming for him.

“…I feel that it’s a chance to bring back something that I truly loved as a kid,” said Redford. “….you bring it back in a way that you experienced films when you were young. You didn’t see six trailers in a film blasting your ears away.”

Expanding Sundance Cinemas has been a longtime goal of Redford who has always thought the 10-day film festival he holds every January in Park City, Utah could easily expand throughout the entire country if there were theatres to show independent films. In the mid-1990s, as the Sundance Film Festival grew ever larger, Redford said, “…it didn’t seem to have that opportunity because there was still a lock by the major studios and the theater owners. There was not enough space or a place for independent films at that time. So the decision was to go electronically and so we started the Sundance Channel, but in my head the better preference was always going to be could we do a live experience.”

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Cinemark Announces NextGen Cinema Concept

PrintWhat is the next hot trend for theatre owners and moviegoers? Cinemark, North America’s third largest theatre chain, thinks they may have the answer and they have begun publicizing a new cinema concept. Last Friday the Plano based circuit announced plans to build what it has dubbed Cinemark NextGen theatres. The first such complex will be the Cinemark Frisco Square which is set to open in Frisco, Texas some time in December.

Based on the press release and various news reports it seems as if the NextGen theatre concept is being marketed as a technologically advanced, and thus superior, moviegoing experience. Alan Stock, Cinemark’s Chief Executive Officer said in a statement:

“The new Cinemark NextGen theatres represent the next generation in cinema. We have designed an entertainment environment that offers technologically advanced amenities and a movie-watching experience that simply cannot be duplicated.”

The environment Stock refers to will feature giant screens that cover an entire wall of each auditorium, Barco digital cinema projectors, 3D systems from RealD and a customized JBL sound system. There is no mention of how the sound system will be any different from the standard 5.1 or 7.1 digital surround setups that can be found in most theatres these days. Nor is it clear how NextGen theatres will be any different than the 29 Cinemark XD Extreme auditoriums they have opened since 2009.

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Manukau City Gets New SkyCity Multiplex

If you are one of the 330,000 residents of Manukau city in New Zealand then beginning on September 13th you’ll have a brand new movie theatre to see the latest and greatest films in.  SkyCity Cinemas is opening a flagship multiplex at the Westfield Manukau City on Saturday featuring ten screens and a combined 1,932 seats.

Eight of the screens will be reserved for traditional theatres complete with digital sound and extra-wide stadium seating that will provide plenty of leg room.  The two remaining screens have been transformed into SkyCity’s premium auditoriums, Cinema Deluxe.  They will seat 78 and 62 patrons respectively in reclining leather chairs.  Despite what may appear to be limited seating capacity, the VIP screens are full sized theatres with the same screen size, throw and digital sound as featured in the multiplex’s other auditoriums.  The largest screen in the complex will seat 364.

SkyCity Cinemas Manukau will also host a full bar in hopes of coaxing some extra New Zealand Dollars out of adult moviegoers before and after shows, as well as an interactive gaming arcade.  Read More »

Village Roadshow Brings $35 Movie Ticket To The US

Village Roadshow chairman, Robert G. Kirby [Lawrence K. Ho/LA Times]

Village Roadshow chairman, Robert G. Kirby (Lawrence K. Ho/LA Times)

Back in March of this year, Australian exhibitor Village Roadshow Ltd. announced plans to bring their Gold Class luxury cinemas concept to the United States.  Already a huge hit in Australia, Village Roadshow teamed up with television producer Norman Lear’s Act III Communications and investment firm Lambert Entertainment in a USD $200 million venture that has plans to open 50 theaters in the U.S. over a five year period.  On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times shed some light on what moviegoers can expect from Village Roadshow’s high-end cinemas.

Specifically, they can look forward to the price of admission – up to USD $35 per ticket.

Turns out Village Roadshow’s Gold Class Cinemas, which is based in Burbank, California, will be opening three theaters in the Los Angeles area by December of 2009.  It should come as no surprise that these theatres will be built in affluent areas such as One Colorado in Pasadena, Triangle Square in Costa Mesa and at the Guasti Winery in Ontario.  Read More »

Adlabs Expands In Mumbai

Adlabs LogoAs the multiplexing of India continues, Adlabs Cinemas and Phoenix Mills are teaming up to build a 15 screen screen at the Phoenix Market City at Kurla in Mumbai. The 140,000 square foot facility will have more about 4,000 seats. Like many exhibitors these days, Adlabs plans to fortify their offerings of first run movies with a heavy dose of live concerts and sporting events. The company will also build two of the screens as luxury theatres. No word on when the theatre will open.

Speaking about the news on Thursday Adlabs Cinemas chief operating officer Tushar Dhingra was quoted as saying:

“It is our endeavour to offer audiences a wide variety of viewing experiences. The Ebony Lounge will have live band performances round the year. It will add novelty and uniqueness to the cinema experience in India.”

Heck, having a music lounge at a movie theatre would be “unique” no matter what country it was located in. Adlabs recently announced they would be building a chain of luxury lounges geared towards moviegoers and this new complex seems to fit that plan. With an emerging economy like India’s such theatres would seem a natural fit, however lately many of the country’s moviegoers have been complaining, mostly on personal blogs, about the high ticket prices charged by such multiplexes.

While they had everybody’s attention by spreading the news about their plans for the Mumbai multiplex Adlabs also announced Kids 101, a new loyalty program meant to attract children and teenagers to the circuit’s 66 locations throughout India. To start out, the program will provide games and contests to members on Sundays.

SVA Transforms Manhattan’s Chelsea West Theater

Chelsea West TheaterThe Chelsea West Cinemas in New York City has long been a home to film industry events such as premieres and trade screenings. Now, in what Variety is calling “one of the boldest moves in Gotham exhibition this decade” the School of Visual Arts has taken out a 26-year lease on the theatre and will spend the next several months renovating the venue to reopen it as a repertory theatre. (AMC opening the Empire 25 on 42nd Street in 2000 directly across the street from a Loews multiplex must not count as bold, just extremely confident.)

The Chelsea West, which opened in 1963 as a single-screen theatre, is a 20,000 square foot, two-screen complex which had been operated by Clearview Cinemas until SVA recently took over the lease. Clearview will still operate the Chelsea, a nine-screen complex just across Eighth Avenue which shows first-run features.

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Upscale Theatres In The Works For Inner-City

Maya Cinemas and Chicago real estate developer Urban Retail Properties have announced a joint venture to bring high-end, first-class multiplexes to inner-city Latino neighborhoods. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the two companies plan on building 500 screens in 40 locations in North America over the next five years and have already begun development or construction in cities such as Fresno, Bakersfield and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Maya Cinemas presently runs a 14 screen complex in Salinas, California with plans to open a location in Inglewood to play movies in both Spanish and English. Urban Retail Properties is best known for developing mixed use properties such as Copley Place in Boston, Valencia Town Center near Los Angeles and Water Tower Place in Chicago.

The Times article quotes Patrick Corcoran of the National Association of Theatre Owners as saying that of the estimated 175 million moviegoers in the United States a majority are whites and that Latinos and African Americans aren’t far behind. Of these groups Corcoran points to Latinos as the most consistent movie watchers, a group he says exhibitors have begun to take notice of over the past several years. The Motion Picture Association of America figures Latinos make up 17% of U.S. movie audiences, the largest minority ethnic group among frequent moviegoers. Read More »

Casper, WY To Get 10-Plex, Wal-Mart style

WyomoviesMovie Palaces Inc. are expanding their five theatre empire in Casper, Wyoming with one more ten-screen multiplex on the east side of town. The Casper Star Tribune reveals that because of parking and building size issues downtown the multiplex has to be situated at the east side of town. Randy Pride, the co-owner of Movie Palaces, proudly states “I compare it to Wal-Mart building a new location on the west side,” but re-assures readers that the cinemas downtown won’t be closing as a result. But not everyone is convinced: “Tina Wulf, director of the Downtown Development Authority, hopes the new multiplex won’t negatively affect downtown, but it remains to be seen.” There’s even discussion about whether this will have an impact on downtown restaurants.

Arclight Comes To Sherman Oaks

Arclight HollywoodCan a movie theater make movies better? That was the question residents of the San Fernando Valley found waiting for them at the end of their driveway last Thursday. At least those residents who subscribe to home delivery of the Los Angeles Times. The question was posed on an insert folded into Thursday’s paper advertising Pacific Theatres latest theatre opening; Arclight Sherman Oaks.

The Arclight Sherman Oaks is modeled after 14-screen, 140,000 square foot Arclight Hollywood which Pacific opened in March of 2002 next to the historic Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard. At the time there was a great deal of hoopla over the new complex for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its USD $14 ticket price for prime shows and the USD $6 parking fee. Pacific eventually caved and picked up USD $4 of the parking fee which led some to speculate that the Arclight may be doomed due to its high operating costs.

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