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As a lifelong resident of the East Orange area, I had long hoped the vacant Hollywood would reopen. When this finally happened I avoided the first day thinking it wouldbe jammed. Imagine the surprise when I found myself virtually empty when I visited to see King Kong.
Over the next two years, it wouldn’t surprise me if I was the new theater’s most loyal customer. Sadly, through that time, the Hollywood was seldom crowded. Many times, I had private screenings of major hit films. The only true success was the early opening of Dremgirls last year, which did draw good crowds.
Why did it fail? In my opinion, if the same number of people who attended the old theater in the 80s were still here, it would have been okay. I just think there are not as many moviegoers within walking distance as in the past. Others want to go out of town for the change of venue.
It seems ownership had not formed any alliances with local business to promote themselves through store posters or flyers.
Perhaps, instead of 5 screens, they should have started with 3 until demand justified.
Finally, the Hollywood should have opened with a bang. Perhaps a block party with local radio djs, music and a celebrity guest or two, and I don’t mean the mayor.
The closing is a bitter pill for me and I hope the owners reconsider and give it another shot before gutting the building.