The new Regal Cinemas theater is more than a just makeover for the local movie-going experience: it’s plastic surgery, Botox and liposuction rolled into one.
The 51,790-square-foot cineplex, which is replacing two sister movie houses in Kelso and Longview, is big enough to seat 2,000 people and increases the number of screens in the area to 12, up from nine.
The new theater is twice the size of the two closed theaters combined and replaces the old Sears store at the Three Rivers Mall, which was torn down to make room for the new movie house.
“This is going to be a whole new movie-going experience for Kelso and Longview,” said Vickie Atchley, a Vancouver-based spokeswoman for Regal Entertainment Group.
From the moment they enter the theater through the covered box-office area, customers will be confronted with the concession room, greeted by a line of registers and workers pushing popcorn, candy and soft drinks. Bright lights and spacious design are a break away from the cluttered, darker lobby of Regal’s current Kelso theater.
The concession room walls are wrapped in a band of wood paneling and wood accents that Atchley said is a nod to the area’s logging history. Throughout the theater, the walls are splashed with yellow-orange and teal paint, tile and fabric. The dark carpeting has swooshes of teal interspersed with white tile.
Next to the concession registers, a ticket-taker stand is stocked with 3-D glasses because every screen is capable of projecting 3-D films. The wall immediately behind the stand is fronted by oversized silver letters reading “RPX,” which are backlit by blue lighting and stand for “Regal Premium Experience.”
The 352-seat RPX auditorium, Regal’s proprietary answer to IMAX, features a 60-foot-wide-by-33-foot tall screen, a 6,500 watt digital 3-D projector, and a sound system outfitted with subwoofers and wall-to-wall surround speakers.
“The RPX is a very immersive sound experience,” said Regal spokeswoman Rachel Lueras. “(The screen) has a curvature that engulfs you into the presentation, too.”
The RPX auditorium has 352 leather seats that rock and curve inward to prevent stiff necks. The RPX experiences will also come with a premium price: a $4 charge on top of the regular ticket price. For those who don’t want to shell out the extra charge, the other 11 auditoriums offer a wide range in screen sizes and seating capacity, but Regal officials say they’d prevail over the phased-out theaters in terms of functionality and aesthetics.
“Even our small auditoriums here are what would be considered ‘big’ (in the old theaters),” Atchley said.
Regal wouldn’t say how much it spent on the new complex, but Atchley said there will be benefits to the company beyond consolidating its locations at the mall.
“Before, we had to split products between the two locations,” Atchley said.
She added that Regal’s Kelso location often offered more family films while the Longview theater had more superhero and action films because of its proximity to Lower Columbia College. All first-run features will soon be available in one place.
All 12 screens will be in use during a typical day, and only the biggest, blockbuster hits will be shown on more than one screen at a time.
To operate the new theater, Regal is transferring all employees from its two existing locations and adding 48 additional employees. It was not clear Thursday whether any will be full time.
Also uncertain is what will happen to the existing theaters. A listing for the Triangle Shopping Center theater on Loopnet.com includes a deed restriction barring movie theaters from using the property.
The last day for the old theaters is Sunday, the day Regal will begin a “soft opening” at the mall theater.
Regal hasn’t announced the names of the 12 films that will inaugurate the theater at its Jan. 15 grand opening. For that, movie-goers will have to check online next week — or just go to the theater to see for themselves.
Soft Opening Schedule
The grand opening for the new Regal 12-plex theater in Kelso is Thursday, Jan. 15. A soft opening for the theater runs from Sunday through Tuesday. Tickets, soft drinks and popcorn are each $3. All proceeds benefit local charities. Sunday will benefit Habitat for Humanity in Cowlitz County; Monday will benefit Neighbors in Need; and Tuesday will benefit Lower Columbia CAP.
Eight films will show all three days and at the same times:
- “Maleficent 3D”: 11 a.m.; 2:35 p.m.; 6:10 p.m.; 9:40 p.m.
- “St. Vincent:: 12:25 p.m.; 2:50 p.m.; 5:15 p.m.; 8 p.m.; 10:25 p.m.
- “Divergent”: 12:10 p.m.; 3:30 p.m.; 6:40 p.m.; 9:50 p.m.
- “Gone Girl”: noon; 3:20 p.m.; 6:30 p.m.; 9:35 p.m.
- “22 Jump Street”: 11:50 a.m.; 2:25 p.m.; 5 p.m.; 7:50 p.m., 10:25 p.m.
- “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”: 12:35 p.m.; 3:40 p.m.; 6:50 p.m.; 9:40 p.m.**
- “When The Game Stands Tall” : 11:15 a.m.; 1:50 p.m.; 4:25 p.m.; 7:10 p.m.; 9:55 p.m.
- “The Maze Runner”: 11:25 a.m.; 2:10 p.m.; 4:45 p.m.; 7:30 p.m.; 10:10 p.m.
Here is the schedule for the remaining 12 films
Sunday, Jan. 11:
- “Rio 2”: 11:35 a.m.; 2:05 p.m.; 4:35 p.m.; 7 p.m.; 9:20 p.m.
- “How to Train Your Dragon 2”: 11:45 a.m.; 2:15 p.m.; 4:50 p.m.; 7:20 p.m.; 9:45 p.m.
- “The Box Trolls”: 12:20 p.m.; 2:45 p.m.; 5:10 p.m.; 7:40 p.m.; 10 p.m.
- “The Lego Movie”: 11:05 a.m.; 1:25 p.m.; 3:50 p.m.; 6:20 p.m.; 9 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 12
- “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”: 11:40 a.m.; 2:15 p.m.; 4:35 p.m.; 7:20 p.m.; 9:35 p.m.
- “Julie and Julia”: 12:45 p.m.; 4:10 p.m.; 7 p.m.; 9:45 p.m.
- “Chef”: 11:05 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 4:50 p.m.; 7:40 p.m.; 10:15 p.m.
- “The Hundred-Foot Journey”: 12:20 p.m.; 3:10 p.m.; 6:20 p.m.; 9:10 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 13
- “X-Men: Days of Future Past”: 12:45 p.m.; 4:15 p.m.; 7:20 p.m.; 10:20 p.m.
- “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”: 12:20 p.m.; 3:50 p.m.; 7 p.m.; 10:10 p.m.
- “The Dark Knight Rises”: 11:05 p.m.; 2:45 p.m.; 6:20 p.m.; 9:50 p.m.
- “Guardians of the Galaxy”: 11:20 a.m.; 2:05 p.m.; 4:55 p.m..; 7:40 p.m.; 10:25 p.m.
** This film will show in the 352-seat RPX theater, the largest of the 12 theaters