Rolling out the red carpet: Regal Entertainment reports on 2012 theatre openings
Following last year’s insightful “Class of 2011”’ report from Regal Entertainment Group, Film Journal International is equally pleased to hear from Russ Nunley, Regal’s VP of marketing and communications, in this session. He shares with our readers how the largest cinema operator in the world makes each and every theatre opening a memorable event. For more insight on marketing and outreach programs in general, see our exclusive interview with Regal’s chief marketing officer, Ken Thewes, on the preceding pages. Including the end-of-November acquisition of 301 screens at 25 locations from Great Escape Theatres, and not yet counting an additional 43 Hollywood Theaters with 513 screens, Regal operated 6,880 screens in 540 theatres in 38 states and the District of Columbia as of Feb. 7, 2013, with more than 216.35 million attendees for the fiscal year 2012.
With spectacular grand opening campaigns to accompany each project, Regal Entertainment Group drew attention to new theatres while also starting off on the right foot by contributing to the local communities.
Regal kicked off the busy summer movie season with the opening of the all-new, state-of-the-art San Bernardino Stadium 14 & RPX. Grand opening events raised funds for Sinfonia Mexicana at the famous (and former Fox) 1928 California Theatre and the San Bernardino Community Scholarship Association. Additionally, Regal worked with Operation Homefront of Southern California to assist with their mission for military support. “On behalf of Operation Homefront Southern California and the families of the junior military personnel and wounded warriors that we support, I want to convey how excited and honored we are to be a charity of choice for Regal’s grand opening,” enthused J. S. Anderson, Colonel, U. S. Marine Corps (Retired), chapter president.
In August, Regal added Huebner Oaks Stadium 14 & RPX to the already impressive list of Regal Cinemas in the San Antonio, Texas area. Regal Huebner Oaks offers a multitude of entertainment choices including the Regal Premium Experience, which is like choosing first class for your night out at the movies. Moviegoers were invited to be a part of the grand opening with free popcorn and free soft drinks for the first two weeks. “Moviegoers are amazed by what Regal has done with the place. We took a closed theatre building and made it new. If moviegoers had previously frequented Huebner Oaks, there is no comparison to what we offer now with a totally new facility and the amazing Regal Premium Experience,” stated Robbie Arrington, Southern Marketing manager for Regal Entertainment Group.
West Oaks Mall in Houston, Texas, unveiled a new plaza for restaurants and an all-new Edwards Theatre at the end of August. It attracts moviegoers from all around the area. The theatre also features the Sony Entertainment Access System to assist deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind and low-vision moviegoers. This cutting-edge technology was first introduced in the United States at our theatres. “With Sony’s entertainment access glasses, a broader range of the moviegoing public can now enjoy exciting movie experiences in a relaxed, natural way. We’re proud to be working with Regal to roll out this revolutionary technology,” stated Dianne LaGuardia, senior marketing manager for digital cinema at Sony Electronics.
A new 12-screen theatre at Waugh Chapel Towne Centre is part of a vibrant open-air retail center in Gambrills, Maryland, located between Washington, DC and Baltimore. Preview events raised money for local charities including Boys & Girls Clubs, Got Your Six and Grants 4 Teachers. The new theatre is modern in every way, equipped with RealD 3D and the IMAX Experience. “Regal is simply thrilled to open this remarkable entertainment destination for the moviegoers of Anne Arundel County,” stated Jewel Gallagher, REG’s Northern marketing manager.
In September, Little Rock, Arkansas, became the next market with a brand-new Regal Entertainment Group theatre. The McCain Mall Stadium 12 & RPX opened to the public with preview events featuring $2 movies, popcorn and soft drinks for three full days to benefit local charities. Regal is the anchor for a mall renovation project designed to attract families to the movies and the mall. “While we intend to focus on improvements that will appeal to all segments of our shopper base, we place special emphasis on family-friendly amenities, especially since families account for much of the region’s population base and growth, and McCain Mall is such a popular destination for families to spend time together,” said Charles Tarkington, McCain Mall’s general manager.
For many years, Regal searched for the right location to open a new entertainment destination with all of the latest amenities in Charlottesville, Virginia. In November, Regal found the opportunity by opening the Stonefield Stadium 14 & IMAX. The new cinemas certainly impressed moviegoers, attracting close to 20,000 patrons during preview events while raising money for charities including the Virginia Film Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary and once again hosted “The Oscar Experience” at the historic Paramount in Charlottesville. “We are truly astounded by the generosity shown us by our longtime friends and partners at Regal Entertainment as they debut what is a stunningly beautiful new facility. What an extraordinary gesture, and one that will help us continue to expand what we are able to offer all aspects of this community not only during the Festival, but all year around,” stated Jody Kielbasa, director of the Virginia Film Festival (www.virginiafilmfestival.org).
The last Regal Cinemas to open in 2012 was the Barkley Village Stadium 16 IMAX & RPX. Located in Bellingham, Washington, the theatre has become the ultimate destination for moviegoing in the market. During an impressive three days of preview events for local charities in December, the Barkley Village theatre raised almost $100,000, split among the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, Extend a Hand charity and the Bellingham Food Bank. “We at Regal recognize that a movie theatre is a special gathering place for the community. It’s a place where people come together. That’s why we took the opportunity during this grand opening to give back…while letting crowds of moviegoers come experience the all-new Regal Barkley Village Stadium 16 IMAX & RPX,” said Rachel Lueras, Western marketing manager for Regal.
Since the Regal Premium Experience debuted in May 2010 at Regal E-Walk in Manhattan, Regal has continued to deliver an ever-increasing number of premium experiences to patrons. In 2012, Regal added 14 RPX and one IMAX auditorium which are all drawing crowds of fans. Overwhelmingly, RPX and IMAX theatres have been warmly embraced and preferred by guests. As a result, we have announced plans for the rollout of dozens more RPX and IMAX projects in 2013 as patrons continue to seek the ultimate movie experience at Regal.