movie palace

New cinema palace debuts with movies and glitz

Old Cinedome shuttered Thursday night
2012-11-09T15:17:00Z 2013-12-11T19:34:28Z New cinema palace debuts with movies and glitzHOWARD YUNE Napa Valley Register
November 09, 2012 3:17 pm  • 

Dozens stood in line outside the Century Napa Valley movie theater, waiting for more film choices, cushier seats and the premiere of the latest James Bond thriller. But inside Napa’s lavish new cinema, it was easy for some to let themselves be distracted from film — happily so.

Inside the high-ceilinged, wood-paneled lobby early Friday afternoon, the 12-screen theater’s opening-day queue inched toward the ticket desk, most of them on their way to see “Skyfall” on the playhouse’s showcase 300-seat screen.

Relaxing in a lounge by the plate-glass windows, however, were others in no hurry to take their seats, instead celebrating the grand opening in a typically Napa Valley way.

“It’s lovely, it’s gorgeous. I’m jealous,” said Bridget Cheslock, of San Diego, as she and her friend Katie Clark, who lives in western Massachusetts, sipped glasses of Sofia Blanc de Blancs the two had bought in the wine bar a few yards away. “It’s so beautiful here, you can come, hang out, see a few movies, spend the day.”

Cinemark’s new Napa outlet, sited behind the South Napa Marketplace, opened its doors at 11:30 a.m., with more than 65 spectators already waiting underneath the theater’s glass-walled façade and pewter-colored pillars.

Though the playhouse at 195 Gasser Drive attracted hundreds to an invitation-only preview on Wednesday, its full opening — originally planned to include a midnight debut for “Skyfall” — was delayed 12 hours to allow more preparation time after it hosted movies for the Napa Valley Film Festival the previous day. Despite the delay, Cinemark spokeswoman Jennifer Frederick said the company still forecasted sellouts of the James Bond movie on Friday.

First-day spectators entered a space on a larger scale, in size and amenities, from the 1980s-era Cinedome, which Cinemark closed after its Thursday night showings. Besides featuring four more screens than its forerunner, Century Napa Valley is equipped with digital projection for all screens and three-dimensional capability in six.

Century Napa Valley’s 12:30 p.m. leadoff showing of “Skyfall” took place in in the theater’s “XD” room, whose surround-sound system includes a screen the full height and width of a wall, along with speakers built into the ceiling as well as the walls for greater realism. Cinemark spokesman James Meredith said this larger-screen venue, duplicated in about 70 of the company’s cinemas, will present many major films for their first week of release.

Word of the new theater’s special screen had reached at least some of those waiting for the opening.

“I heard the XD is a new thing, so we’re gonna try to see it there, see what it’s all about,” said Jenith Ladon Falconitin, a Vallejo resident and Napa native who was fourth in line and preparing to buy tickets for herself and her husband that evening.

Extra screens should allow Cinemark not only to keep major Hollywood productions in the theater for longer, but also to broaden the new cinema’s offerings, Meredith said during the Wednesday preview.

In addition to a rotation of classic and seasonal movies, Century Napa Valley also is expected to show live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, mixed martial arts bouts, the Wimbledon tennis tournament and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he said.

“In the summer (when Hollywood studios release most action films) having more screens is an advantage,” said Meredith. “And with 12 screens we can show some indie and art films along with the blockbusters.”

Meanwhile, for some, Century Napa Valley had proved itself as an attraction before ever showing a film. As the minutes ticked toward the first movies’ introductions, Cheslock and Clark continued their unhurried chat with their new friend, Drew Brewer, a Mill Valley man visiting his son in Napa, who had introduced the women to the theater.

“We met at the Starbucks and I told them about the wine bar here, and we decided to check it out,” Brewer said, passing a plate of Brie, preserves and water crackers to his new friends. “Who’s not gonna want to see a new wine bar, no matter where it is — even in a movie theater?”

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(8) Comments

  1. FireEater
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    FireEater - November 09, 2012 7:30 pm
    Yeah we were there this afternoon and the service was atrocious. They have a nice place but when you wait in a line to pay for your overpriced snacks for 10 minutes or more, you need to get more help. And the people taking tickets, oh brother, how long does it takes to tear a ticket and hand it back to the customers, way, way too long. They need to make some serious improvements across the board if they want me back. Although it was a nice, and I mean a nice place, but the snacks were beyond reasonable and the service across the board was hideous!
  2. chunk215
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    chunk215 - November 09, 2012 10:07 pm
    Sneak in your snacks and don't even feel bad about it. Not when ticket prices are $11.
  3. rpcv
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    rpcv - November 10, 2012 7:38 am
    Oh come on. You go on opening day and you expect instantaneous service? If you go to any long-awaited event, you just have to expect delays. Have some patience. On another note, I just hope they keep the sound at a decent level.
  4. valley native
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    valley native - November 10, 2012 8:37 am
    What a great improvement for Napa! Loved the new theatre and am so happy not to have to drive out of town anymore. Residents being able to stay in town for entertainment is a plus throughout the community. Comfy seats, awesome sound. And a wine bar - theatres in other states have had that for a while. Napa is finally catching up.

    Kudos to Cinemark and The Gasser Foundation for all their hard work to make this happen.
  5. WYN007
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    WYN007 - November 11, 2012 10:28 am
    Just watched End of Watch and it had the best enchanced digitial sound I have ever heard in my life! The seats were plush stadium steaming like leather bucket seats or video gameing seats the best and viewing experince was with RealID 3D concept. You have got to get down to Century Napa Valley’s movie theater. By the way I give End of Watch 5*s easy.
  6. jeepracer10
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    jeepracer10 - November 11, 2012 2:17 pm
    For a new place it sure is ugly. The service was really bad too.
  7. WHY
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    WHY - November 12, 2012 11:46 am
    I think it is an amazing place. My wife and I went there last night on a date and it was designed well. Here are my comments that should and probably are being addressed or will be after they work out the kinks as with any new place. Need to give it some time.
    Carpets everywhere were soiled with soda stains, Popcorn from the outside entrance all the way to your seat, did I say popcorn everywhere, it was like walking into a 6 year olds birthday party room after you had left the room for an hour. Employees standing around when they could be cleaning. Bathrooms fixtures were ripped off the wall, faucets just running water with no one in the bathroom. Anyways I am sure these issues will be dealt with as it is new and they need to figure it out. I think what really bothers me the most is that folks just trash a new place like they just have no morales or respect for someelses property. Bags of popcorn on the floor, for heavens sake pick up after yourself.
  8. tomo
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    tomo - November 15, 2012 4:35 pm
    As a Napa native, much of my childhood was spent at the Uptown. Saw all the requisite Disney movies there, as well as the first few, probably 7-10 James Bond movies there. The they split it into three. Living out of town, I went into the multiplex probably 3 times.
    Went the firet night the River Park Cinema opened in about 1969. It had two theatres. I saw 'The Rievers,' with Steve McQueen and Will Geer. It became a bingo palace at one time. What is it now.
    So Napa is now state of the art., but still with just one theatre.
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