Regal Cinema 14Regal Cinema 14 The excitement has mounted as Regal Cinemas prepares to open its new 63,000 square foot, 14 screen stadium movie theaters next week.  The facility will hold 2600 movie-goers in 12 theaters seating 209 and two more that seat over 300.  The company plans four days of celebration before the general opening on July 20th.  For anyone who remembers the old big screen movie theaters, the stadium theaters are clearly meant to bring back the excitement of going to the movies.

The opening begins with three charity days where the public will be able to see a movie for one dollar, and get $1 popcorn and soft drinks.  Monday kicks off the celebration with one dollar movies sponsored by the Ithaca Journal to benefit Ithaca Lend-A-Hand, Inc..  Cayuga Radio Group sponsors Tuesday to benefit the American Cancer Society, and WSTM-NBC will sponsor Wednesday to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.  Thursday the complex hosts a by-invitation celebration with a reception followed by a new film screening.

The staffs of Regal Cinema and the newly renamed 'The Shops at Ithaca Mall' spent this week getting ready for the opening.  Inside the complex things were businesslike and remarkably calm as workmen and executives made final adjustments and equipment checks.  A grand entrance has been constructed at the back of the mall, which enters into a large hallway that joins the wing of the mall that used to lead to the Ames store.  The theater complex takes up one whole side, while new retail space is available on the other.  A ticket kiosk juts into this area, flanked my doors leading into the main lobby.

Theaters are accessible from the mallTheaters are accessible from the mall
Theaters are accessible from the mall

The lobby is enormous with a neon-themed design.  The concessions stand is the centerpiece with stations for ten cashiers.  A customer service counter faces the concessions stand on the entrance wall, and a party room, currently decked out for a Harry Potter themed party, flanks the entrance to the theaters.

A Party Room for Movie PartiesA Party Room for Movie Parties
A Party Room for Movie Parties

The theaters are laid out along three hallways in an H configuration, with the larger theaters along the center hallway.  Luxurious seating allows you to lean back, making it easier to see the screen from front rows.  Handicapped seating and wheelchair space is laid out at the entry level with tiers of seats up and down from there.


Upstairs the projection booths are three connected hallways that mimic the H layout below.  With the equipment for all the theaters lined up, one projectionist can operate all 14 projectors.  The projectors include racks to hold enormous film reels, and the theaters are equipped with digital sound.

While some of the remaining tasks seem enormous, the mall's construction manager Jim Bold seemed confident it would be done in time.  Bold went to the Village of Lansing Planning board Monday to get final approval for the landscape plan.  Scenic Landscape's Sean Morris was also present to help explain the plan and describe the trees and bushes he has chosen.  

Colorful hallways lead to theaters

After negotiating details the Planning Board agreed to the plan, and they granted extra time to install three curbed parking lot row ends that they wanted added for safety.  Morris explained that he would be planting 15' to 20' tall crimson king maples around the front of the theater.  "I picked those because they have bright red leaves all year long," he said.  "They're going to stand out in that parking lot against the facade of the building."

Trees are placed on islands

Morris was planting the next morning as massive construction was still taking place in the parking lot.  Crews were pouring concrete for sidewalks in front of the entrance, and on Tuesday much of the parking lot was still dirt.  Construction equipment and storage pods littered the lot.

All parties involve a last minute flurry to get everything ready before the guests arrive, and Bold was determined to resolve all remaining issues before the 16th.  Regal plans to keep celebrating during the first week of regular operations, offering free popcorn and soft drinks with each paid admission from July 20th through 26th.

"The Regal Theater is a new experience for Ithaca," says the Shops at Ithaca Mall Principal Parnter Eric Goetzmann.  "It's an opportunity for everybody around here to come and see the greatest releases in an experience you can get nowhere else.  People want to be at these theaters.  What Regal is creating here is an opportunity to really experience a movie, and you're going to think twice about waiting to watch this movie on a DVD -- it's a completely different experience."

{niftycolumn background=khaki,textcolor=#FFF,align=center}Special Films For $1 Charity Days
{niftycolumn background=khaki,textcolor=#FFF} Monday 7/16 Only