Category Archives: Theatre Openings

Cinemark Expands Premium Concept With Upscale Theatre In Silicon Beach

Cinemark Playa Vista at The Runway

Cinemark Playa Vista and XD at The Runway

Cinemark, the third largest cinema chain in the United States, can add nine more screens this evening to the more than 5,700 it operates throughout the country. This weekend marks the grand opening of the Cinemark Playa Vista and XD, the ninth and latest of the circuit’s NextGen multiplex venues which are geared toward offering high-end amenities. The opening signals Cinemark positioning itself as a ‘premium’ cinema brand and broadening the geographical footprint of upscale theatres in the US centre of moviemaking.

Cinemark now operates 70 theatres in California, comprised of 835 screens, most of which are the result of acquiring Century Theatres in 2006 and Rave Motion Pictures in 2012. Only 18 of these cinemas are in southern California, despite the region’s dense population of over 22 million people. The company plans on changing this over the next year by opening three new southland multiplexes; Carson will be home to a 13 screen complex, 14 screens are being built in Downey and Palm Springs will host a 12-screen facility.

Usually the opening of a new cinema in the United States wouldn’t warrant special attention, even by Celluloid Junkie where it would normally be included in our daily news roundup. However, a number of factors have Cinemark going out of their way to build awareness of the opening through advertising and news media coverage.

Cinemark’s Playa Vista theatre has been long in the planning, having first been announced in July of 2012 for a May 2014 opening. The theatre is one of the anchor tenants of The Runway, a brand new mixed-use development constructed at a cost of USD $260 million by Lincoln Property. The project will ultimately house 420 apartments, 35,000 square feet in three office buildings and 221,00 square of retail space. Cinemark spent USD $9 million on their new 46,000 square foot theatre. A Whole Foods grocery store will be moving in as another anchor tenant later this year.

The development sits on land once owned by the legendary tycoon Howard Hughes for his global aerospace empire, thus it’s name, The Runway. In fact, the two large hangers where Hughes built what became known as the “Spruce Goose” are still standing there today. For decades the land sat unused alongside the Ballona Wetlands, a natural wildlife habitat stretching two miles to the Pacific Ocean. It is the very same property on which DreamWorks SKG hoped to build a movie and television studio in the 1990s, a plan which faced stiff opposition from those wanting to protect the nearby wetlands.

However, environmental groups could only hold off developers for so long. The Hughes land, which sits east of Playa del Rey and Marina del Rey, south of Santa Monica and Venice, west of Culver City and north of Westchester, was officially founded as Playa Vista in 2002. And that’s when things start to get really interesting… and at times, a bit contentious.

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AMC Promotes New Fallbrook 7 Through Its Rewards Program

AMC Stubs Fallbrook 7 Promotion

AMC has found an interesting way to promote both the opening of a new theatre and, at the same time, its loyalty rewards program. In advance of opening the newly renovated AMC Fallbrook 7 complex, the cinema chain has invited members of its AMC Stubs program to attend an evening of free screenings at the theatre this Friday, September 27th.
First, a little history on the re-opening of the Fallbrook 7.

AMC took over the theatre at the Fallbrook Center in West Hills, CA earlier this year when Laemmle Theaters abandoned the site after deadlocking on a new lease agreement with the mall’s owner, Chicago-based General Growth Properties. When Laemmle originally made public the closing of the Fallbrook 7, which is a few miles from my home, I suspected the property owner may have been hoping to attract an exhibitor with deeper pockets. Sure enough, within two weeks of Laemmle’s announcement, AMC Theatres swooped in and took over the lease.

Moviegoers who patronized the Fallbrook 7 regularly, many of them senior citizens, were disheartened to hear of Laemmle’s plans, since it was one of the only cinemas in the west San Fernando Valley to play arthouse titles. An older theatre, it was also known for sometimes scratchy projection and sloped floors. Upon announcing their intention to take over the multiplex, AMC tried to assuage any fears longtime customers might have as evidenced by Mark McDonald, the circuit’s executive vice president of development, telling the Los Angeles Times:

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Mexico’s Cinepolis Heads North Of The Border

Cinepolis LogoNot sure how I missed this. None of the gazillion Google alerts I’ve set up to track all things exhibition and distribution informed me that National Public Radio broadcast a story on Cinépolis back on August 12th. Nor did I hear the piece on Morning Edition, the NPR program my alarm clock blares on most days. (No doubt it aired during one of my many “snooze bar” fits.) There was even a story in the Hollywood Reporter that slipped under my radar.

If you live in the United States or Europe and have never heard of Cinépolis that may change very soon. The Mexican based theatre chain has a history dating back to 1947 and has grown to encompass more than 2,500 screens in over 270 theaters spanning several Latin American countries, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and, of course, Mexico.

Over the past 10 years Cinépolis has gone through explosive growth to become the fourth largest theatre chain in the world. They company serves nearly 117 million moviegoers each year and its theaters in Mexico account for more than 61% of the country’s box office. A few years back the company began opening multiplexes in India. Now they’ve moved north into the United States and opened their first Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas in Del Mar, California, a wealthy suburb of San Diego.

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