Empire Cinemas Columbia Park 12
3125 Kennedy Boulevard,
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Regal Cinemas Columbia Park opened about a year and a half after their Bergen Plaza 13, putting in to an “urban enterprise zone” 25 screens, assuming the theatre would be as profitable as the Regal Cinemas Hudson Mall, located nearby.
The theatre failed miserably, it was never crowded, even on Saturday nights. The theatre originally played some popular features like “Cast Away” and “The Patriot” on their opening weekend before it became a hold over house for the Loews locations in Seacacus. At one time a film would play at Loews, then at the Columbia Park, then at Cineplaza.
In 2004 it was acquired by Cinemark’s Interstate Theatres brand and operated as a $2.00 a seat house. Now films play at Loews, then Cineplaza, and this location (many features playing there are either unsuccessful in their first run or are almost out on DVD).
The cinema has an identical layout on its two floors: both levels with six stadium seating auditoriums. They are pretty similar in style to the ones at the Regal in Battery Park, as this one opened along with the Battery Park 16, Court Street 12, New Roc City 18, and Kaufman Asteria 14 as part of Regal’s aggressively entry in to the New York market. The above locations soon after became United Artists theatres (I have no idea why, a sign was taken down leaving no marking of what was in the basement of Columbia Park for a few months until the owners reattached the letters CINEMA.
Regal’s move in to this market was ill-fated. This theatre made some of the same mistakes of the Bergen Plaza (now Cineplaza) — both were in the basement of shopping centers, parking was done in a dearly lit enclosed lot. Meanwhile this one should have fared well- the hoping center Columbia Park is a hit with 3 % sales tax.
Now the theatre is substantially more crowded, even on weekday nights with $2.00 a seat price policy, a bargain in the Northern NJ/Manhattan area where ticket prices can range from 9.50-10.75.
Taken over by Phoenix Big Cinemas by 2010, it was taken over by Empire Cinemas in 2013.
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