Mercer Mall Cinema

3371 US Highway 1,
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

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Opened on December 25, 1975, this theater began as a three screen and was located literally across Route 1 from the Quaker Bridge Cinema. Four more screens were added in the mid-1990’s. After the Hamilton 24 opened nearby, the theater briefly expanded to eleven screens but shut down around 2000. The theater has been converted to retail space.

Contributed by tc

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 7:45 am

Listed as a 7 screen in the 1991 International Motion Picture Almanac.

amatin
amatin on January 5, 2007 at 5:16 pm

The information on this theater is incorrect. It was not built in the mid 80’s. I moved to Princeton in September 1980 and it was already there. It was converted from a three-plex to a 7-plex around 1988. I have a memory of “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad” being one of the first movies to play when it re-opened. It converted because a year earlier the Movies at Marketfair! 9-plex opened just a short distance away. Infact, the Movies at Marketfair! and Garden Theater are the only theaters in the Princeton area from the 80’s that are still running.

amatin
amatin on January 5, 2007 at 5:16 pm

The information on this theater is incorrect. It was not built in the mid 80’s. I moved to Princeton in September 1980 and it was already there. It was converted from a three-plex to a 7-plex around 1988. I have a memory of “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad” being one of the first movies to play when it re-opened. It converted because a year earlier the Movies at Marketfair! 9-plex opened just a short distance away. Infact, the Movies at Marketfair! and Garden Theater are the only theaters in the Princeton area from the 80’s that are still running.

CenturyJJ35
CenturyJJ35 on June 24, 2008 at 5:38 am

Mercer Mall Cinema I II III, opened in late 1975. Originally seating C 1- 543, C 2- 386, C 3- 336. It received a long overdue expansion and upgrade in 1988. At that time four new theatres were built on the north side ranging in size from 144 to 270 seats. The original theatres had new seats and screens with movable masking installed during this build, along with new speakers and Dolby CP 55 processors. During the next few years the larger theatres were equipped so they could play films with DTS, SRD, SDDS digital soundtracks. In the mid to late nineties Mercer Mall received its second and last expansion. Three new theatres were built on the south side of the building, ranging in size from 120 to 218 with large screens. All theatres were capable of all three digital sound formats by this time… Dolby CP 45 processors in 8 of 10 theatres. Projectors were Cinemacanica V-5 w/consoles and Christie AW3 platters in all theatres. Mercer Mall Cinema 10 closed in the fall of 2000 due in large part to the fact that it was a “flat” theatre… Stadium seating was all the rage, and with a brand new 24 screen with stadium seating within a few miles, and another new 12 screen with stadium seating a couple of miles past that… Mercer became a ghost town in short order. General Cinema itself was soon out of business… bought out by AMC.

azpuma68
azpuma68 on December 13, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I saw the original Bad News Bears here. Great memory. A bunch of others during high school and shortly thereafter including The Mask and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

chubbyhubby
chubbyhubby on January 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Dave, I was there about the same time you were (spring 1976). I was there to see ‘Peter Pan,’ but I distinctly remember ‘The Bad News Bears’ was playing simultaneously, because while waiting in line, I heard a father say to his son, “We’re not going to see ‘The Bad News Bears,’ we’re going to see ‘Peter Pan’.” (Wish I had seen BNB on the big screen. I had to settle for the bowdlerized TV version until home video came along.)

I too have great memories of the place. Saw ‘Animal House’ there back in ‘78, 'Airplane!’ in ‘80, 'Star Trek II’ in ‘82, etc., etc. Just went back yesterday to buy shoes for the kids, and made sure to let them know how it used to be.

On an unrelated note, anyone remember the old Game Barn arcade? It was right in the corner of the mall where TJ Maxx presently is. It opened in late ‘75, but I don’t think it survived the decade.

rivest266
rivest266 on October 2, 2011 at 9:38 pm

This opened on Christmas day, 1975. Grand opening ad posted here.

tombumbera
tombumbera on August 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Mercer Mall Cinemas did indeed open Xmas 1975. I was the first head projectionist (from 1975-1979). The theater was very successful, with months-long (!) runs of “Saturday Night Fever” and “Animal House.” I had to get a replacement print for “Fever” due to extreme sprocket hole wear!

markp
markp on September 6, 2013 at 12:24 am

Not for nothing tombumbera, but I ran prints of Jurrasic Park at the old Amboys Multiplex for 9 months back when it first came out and we never had to replace the prints once. Of course we had a full union crew of projectionists, as opposed to the non-union crew that was at Mercer Mall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 5, 2013 at 1:08 am

One, or perhaps both, of the expansions of the Mercer Mall Cinemas was designed for General Cinema Theatres by Port Washington, New York, architect James Thomas Martino.

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