Comments from rentalguy

Showing 2 comments

rentalguy commented about REG United Artists Pennsauken on Sep 18, 2004 at 9:47 pm

I beg to differ on the Franklin Mills 14. The GCC Franklin Mills 10 used to be a free standing building seperate from the Franklin Mills Mall. I remember seeing The Firm there, back then GCC had a concession with Taco Bell. Why that idea never worked I’ll never know, I guess the yields were better for popcorn. GCC decided to abandon that complex and build a brand new complex inside the Franlin Mills Mall. This was an odd move as the Franklin Mills 10 was a very young theatre. The new 14 is a real nice theatre with stadium seats and two THX houses-No Taco Bell though. AMC purchased the bankrupt GCC chain, if you look carefully you can still see where the GCC decorations were. Also the Pepsi logos were scraped off the cupholder armrests.

On the Pennsauken 11, I wish someone had photos of the old complex, especially the Big house before it was split. Old Theater 4 and 5 used to be one big screen with a big balcony.

rentalguy commented about REG United Artists Pennsauken on Aug 17, 2004 at 3:43 am

I worked there in the early nineties, when the Theatre had its most massive and ill-conceived changes. The Eric Pennsauken had an incredibly long life by today’s standards. For example the GCC Franklin Mills 10 in nearby NE Philly lasted less than a decade to be replaced by a 14-plex less than ¼ a mile away. The Pennsauken Hoyt’s 10 barely lasted half that time. The Pennsauken Theatre just kept changing with the times.

In 1991 the Pennsauken Theatre was still an amazing theatre. Dingy, old and badly maintained but unique in it’s odd super-sized sense. The quality of the clientele had slipped horribly over the years, as evidenced by the occasional theatre fight or riot. Still, it would be magical to approach the huge white and green racing striped structure from Kings Highway. Its huge sign spelling ERIC stood on top despite the United Artists buy-out. The largest of the old ERIC chain-though not most notable-That honor was owned by the SAMERIC/BOYD. Theatre 5 was huge with gigantic three way speakers lining the walls. AMC was known for the cup holders in the armrests, Eric was known for large high backed rocker seats. The “Eric 5” faced far less competition than has become the norm, So back then a 1000+ seat auditorium could be filled easily. T2 was playing that summer in 70mm in house five. In a few short months the big old building would be gutted and it’s 70mm equipment would be removed sent to the UA criterion 7 in Times Square. The constant refurbishing was a process that seemed to be never ending in a complex that started with two separate buildings. The incredibly expensive tile floor that spelled “United Artists” had barely been broken in before it was to be torn up.

One plan called for another identical building to be built adjacent to the already gigantic structure-a mirror image. That plan was written off for some reason or another, and a new plan emerged where the two largest screening rooms would be cut in four each. The outside building was painted Coral (NOT PINK insisted a United Artists Property Executive), to match the original color of the Pennsauken Mart. With it’s new 4 screens showcasing a modern if not somber look, the Pennsauken Theatre was an 8 for the Christmas season. By the next summer it would be an 11.

The new Pennsauken Theatre was no longer the quirky super-sized 5, but a poorly constructed and mazelike mess pretending to be a modern multiplex. The new National Amusements Atco “Multiplex” was open, and overshadowed the new Pennsauken theatre. Atco was just a sign of the quickly approaching Competition. By the end of the nineties the massive Hangar sized Loews 24 would squash the Pennsauken 11.

It still had the biggest screen in the area-it’s new theatre 5-old theatre 3, but it is amazing how horribly constructed the new building was. The designers forgot that the projection booth was going to need structural support, creating the need for a forest of columns in it’s already overcrowded lobby, and concessions storage was still located behind a screen. Meaning concesionists would need to enter a theatre with a dolly to remove the supplies. Pity the projectionist that would have to navigate through 3 ill placed projection booths. The High back Rocker Seats ended up in the dumpster (along with the signature Sameric corporation trademark Greyhound statues Duke and Duchess), replaced with awful small seats, with practically no legroom between the Rows. The new smaller theatres practically never sold out, and the Pennsauken Theatre entered a long phase with no major changes, with the exception of sound. The Pennsauken theatre was chosen as one of the 876 theatres in the nation to be equipped with DTS sound for the opening of Jurassic Park in 1993. In 1993 Pennsauken’s cousin the Moorestown Theatre was closed due to a fire at the Moorestown Mall. That facility later was refurbished to the point of losing its identity as well.