New Movie Theater Opens This Weekend
Former Newark Screens renovated into state-of-the-art theater
A great American pastime is making a comeback in Newark this Memorial Day weekend and just in time for this summer's bevy of blockbusters.
The completely renovated CityPlex 12 movie theater, formerly the Newark Screens 6, is set to open with premiere screenings of "Men in Black 3," as well as "Marvel's The Avengers" and "Battleship."
"We feel when people see the theater, they'll be blown away by it," said Enrico Paolo, who heads the Paola Group marketing firm.
This afternoon, workers put the finishing touches on the Springfield Avenue theater, which boasts digital signage for movie times, gleaming lobby floors and a modern green and grey interior, for its soft opening. The concession stand will offer traditional theater fare: popcorn, fountain soda, candy, pizza and chicken fingers.
The independently owned theater, which first opened in 1993 as the Loews Newark Metroplex, also offers competitively priced tickets at $10 a pop for adults and discounts for students, the military and senior citizens.
Since closing last January, the theater has undergone $7 million in renovations, including the addition of a 20,000-sq.-ft. wing that will house six additional screens (for a total of 12), some with 3-D capability. Each screen has been upgraded with digital projection and Dolby 7.1 digital sound, as well as comfortable stadium seating and new carpeting.
The largest CityPlex theater, the Shaq-EX Premiere Digital Experience, named after basketball great and Newark native Shaquille O'Neal, will feature 300 luxurious leather seats, a 43-foot screen and a top of the line projection and sound system.
O'Neal's real estate firm, the O'Neal Group, and Boraie Development LLC developed the project, with financing provided by Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, New Jersey Community Capital, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Brick City Development Corporation.
An official grand opening to celebrate the completion of all 12 screens is slated for late June or early July, just in time for the highly anticipated premieres of "The Amazing Spider-Man" and Batman's "The Dark Knight Rises" filmed in Newark.
"It's going to be a great summer for movies," said Paolo today during a tour of the theater.
While a crush of moviegoers isn't anticipated this weekend – the theater promoted its soft launch only through its Facebook page and word of mouth – Paolo said it was important to get the doors to the community destination open for Memorial Day weekend. He said the theater will be running promotions and deals via Facebook and email during its "sneak preview" month leading up to the grand opening.