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Saw many movies her but I remember mostly “Earthquake” and “Rollercoaster” in Sensurround. Also waiting in a very long line for the opening weekend of “Jaws2” in 1978 – great fun for a 12 year old.
@ronnie21 – sorry i’ve been out of town and just remembered this site when looking up old “merchandise mart” photos for a facebook page. Yes I remember seeing THE FOG very clearly. It may have been opening weekend because it was packed with people and I remember jumping out of my seat the very first minute when the watch snaps shut – very good dolby that was LOUD and scared me to death. I loved that theater because it was wide instead of long – meaning the screen was super wide and the seats went along the width of it with about 4-6 walk paths between seating blocks – instead of 1 or 2 walk paths with long walk from back to front. Concession was in the front when you walk in – long glass counter that held the candy and employees behind, also a big glass window in front that gave it alot of natural light. I remember it being pretty minimal/modern in design. Not fancy, but not tacky either. Can’t remember the restrooms at all. I didn’t realize it played soft core porn in the mid 70’s. Probably since I still was going to the movies with my parents back then – glad Budco gave it back some respectability even for a little while. I also clearly remember seeing THE CAR and ORCA there in ‘77. Fun times.
This is where I saw STAR WARS in 1977. Also Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Alien, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Grease, The Thing, Porky’s, Raiders of the Lost Ark among many others. Had a good run thru all of the 70’s and 80’s. Started getting a little sketchy in the 90’s and I stopped going there. Fond memories, but Tri-State Mall needs to be bulldozed.
Saw so many movies here – King Kong (‘76), Superman 1 & II, Outland, Aliens etc. etc. Now just I buy movies there at Best Buy. :(
This is where my mom took me and my cousin to see JAWS in the summer of ‘75 when i was 10 yrs. old. I don’t remember much about the theater other than it was a matinee, crowded and had very soft comfortable seats.
I saw many movies at the Cinemart when I was a kid. The above article makes it seem like it was a porn theater after ‘77 but it was actually still quite popular – mostly because it didn’t suffer the multiplex syndrome of the late '70’s like most theaters in north Wilmington (Branmar and Concord Mall went twin, Tr-State went Quad – thereby creating much smaller boxlike view experiences). Cinemart was big, wide and comfortable. I remember seeing “The Fog” there in 1980 when I was 14 and the theater was PACKED. Cinemart was actually the first to close before the rest of Merchandise Mart. Strawbridge & Clothier dept. store was torn down a few years ago and I was afraid Cinemart would soon follow. But it still remains. Now I commute by train everyday from Wilmington to New York and pass it’s big wide backside and think of all those great movie experiences i had there …and hope one day someone will remember how great it was and open it back up. Thanks for the great photos.