Unique seats, snacks await moviegoers

May 21, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

by Joe Crocetta / staff photographer

see the enlargement

Hoyt's Megaplex

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A free movie, popcorn and soda are meant to draw a crowd to the grand opening of the Martinsburg Cinema 10 this weekend, but the company's vice president believes the theater's unique features will keep them coming back.

The 32,000-square-foot, 1,400-seat megaplex on Foxcroft Avenue opens at 9 a.m. Friday. The first 100 customers will receive a free ticket, soda and popcorn and a commemorative T-shirt. On Saturday and Sunday, the first 100 customers will receive free soda, popcorn and a T-shirt.

Until May 28, all shows will be $5 - a $2 discount - with free popcorn and soda.

What sets this theater apart from others is the unusual stadium seating, unconventional snacks, sound quality, curved screens and efficient service, said Dan Vieira, senior vice president of operations for Hoyts Cinemas Corp.


Each row of seats in the 10 auditoriums is 18 inches above the one in front of it. The steep incline ensures a good view no matter where you sit, he said.

"No longer do you have to worry about someone with big hair sitting in front of you or a guy who's 6 feet 4 inches," Vieira said. There is also handicapped-accessible seating and sound receivers for the hearing-impaired.

The megaplex offers more than typical movie food. In addition to the staples - popcorn, nachos, Milk Duds and Whoppers - the megaplex has a gourmet coffee bar, bulk candies, ice cream, biscotti and pastries.

The concession stand has seven cashier stations to move the lines along quickly and a self-serve section.

"No one wants to wait in lines," Vieira said. "We don't want anyone waiting in line for more than two minutes."

Patrons also can buy tickets up to a week in advance using a credit card at a machine in the theater's lobby or by telephone.

Hoyts is based in Sydney, Australia. There are about 1,500 theaters worldwide and 130 in the United States, Vieira said.

Vieira wouldn't say exactly how much the megaplex cost.

"We don't get into specifics, but to build something of this nature it runs about $10 million," he said. About 75 people will be employed there.

Adult ticket prices will be $7 for evening shows and $5 for matinees after May 28. Children and senior citizens pay $5 for any show.

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