Lights. Camera. Action.

Working in the radio business does occasionally have its perks. Like tonight. Our radio station staff was invited to a ‘sneak preview’ of the newest movie theatre/cineplex grand opening. This is an exciting time in our town!

If you’ve followed my blog regularly, you’ll note that Earl and I often go out of town to go to the movies. There’s a couple of reason for that.

First of all, the two movie main movie theatres here in Utica were owned by Hoyts and were built in the 1980s. They haven’t really been renovated since, save for the theatre at Riverside Center which was surgically removed from the mall when Riverside Mall was ripped down in 1995. They still have their “Cinema High Fidelity” sound systems, small seats, crappy cup holders and sticky floors. Plus, there’s not a stadium seat in sight. And they are way overpriced. When Hoyts sold out to Regal a year or so ago, our theatres didn’t go with the sale, they were orphaned off to a company called “Northeast Cinemas”. They still carry their Hoyts logo and they still suck.

The movie theatre in Rome is actually eight movie theatres shoved into an old Great American grocery store. We often end up sitting in the old produce section to see the main feature. It’s a little disconcerting to sit in a movie theatre that provides seating for 50 and smells like wilted lettuce.

The Town of New Hartford (the largest suburb of Utica, if you will) has seen some tremendous retail growth over the past couple of years. In addition to the Pyramid owned “Sangertown Square” mall, we now have “Consumer Square” and “The Orchard”. Consumer Square is a big box store type of place and houses one of our three Super Wal*Marts, a Barnes and Noble, TJ Maxx, Best Buy and a bunch of other stuff.

The Orchard is just opening up this month and right now houses an Outback Steakhouse and Marquee Cinemas. By the end of the summer we’ll have a Ninety-Nine BBQ Pub Place, Pizzeria Uno, Cold Stone Creamery, Gander Mountain and I believe a Kohls.

Thank goodness for Marquee Cinemas! It’s their first theatre in New York State and it wins a big two thumbs up. Last night they had an invitation only family night, which our radio station was at and provided free popcorn and soda to everyone, as well as a free viewing of one of fourteen movies (which were about a month or so old). Tonight, it was media night. Again, invitation only, this was a catered affair (complete with fondue!), but also included free popcorn and soda, and again a free movie viewing.

The theatres have state of the art sound, stadium seating with high back rocking chairs that can be made into love seats and cup holders that will actually hold a large sized cup. Plus, the prices are LOWER than the other theatres.

Earl and I chose to see “Starsky and Hutch”. We’d seen most of the other offerings and thought that Starsky and Hutch would be a good movie for a freebie. I have to admit that I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit, and I thoroughly enjoyed the theatre experience.

We’re so excited – we no longer have to travel 50 miles or more for a decent movie theatre! I’m beginning to run out of reasons to despise this area. 🙂 I’m glad to see this area moving into the 21st Century. Maybe there’s hope after all.