Cicero Cinema 13
5865 East Circle Drive,
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Regal Cinemas opened Cicero Cinema 13 Friday September 13, 1996, as an anchor to their Funscape entertainment complex on the north side of what was then Penn Can Mall. Cicero 13 was the first (and up until May of 2005 the only) theatre in the Syracuse equipped with stadium seating, and because of this developed a cult like following in the area. However, this following was not enough to overcome the theatre’s poor location on the backside of the failing Penn Can and Regal sold the complex to Hoyts Cinemas on (ironically) Friday February 13, 1998 (Regal stayed on to operate the Funscape complex until it closed during their bankruptcy in 2000).
The purchase of Cicero 13 gave Hoyts a monopoly on first-run films in the Syracuse area, and it began to show in their service. Theatre patrons could plan on their film starting late, and cleanliness was kept to a minimum. The amount of service complaints about the complex led Hoyts to replace the theatre’s management in late 2002. Service began to make a comeback, but it turned out to be too little to late. Regal Entertainment Group’s 2003 purchase of Hoyts Cinemas made the majority of Syracuse movie-goers very happy, but shocked many in the Cicero area when they found out that the complex that Regal themselves had built just seven years earlier was not included in the deal. The theatre instead joined with the other Hoyts locations not chosen by Regal and became Northeast Cinemas Cicero 13 later that same year (while at the same time anchoring the newly christened Driver’s Village auto mall created by local dealer Roger Burdick. Northeast’s desire to leave the United States was no secret to anyone, and the local newspaper reported the theatre’s imminent closing on numerous occasions over the next three years.
The theatre always seemed to beat the odds and continued on, becoming the only remaining Hoyts/Northeast location in the country when Northeast sold their remaining theatres in November 2005. The writing was finally on the wall, and the complex finally closed on Thursday December 29, 2005, ending Hoyts fifteen year stay in the Syracuse market and the company’s long run in the United States. The final films played at the complex were: The Family Stone; Yours, Mine, and Ours; Just Friends; Chicken Little; Rent; Walk the Line; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (on 2 screens); Syriana (on 2 screens); The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (on 2 screens); and King Kong (on 2 screens).
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