Eric Twin at Independence Mall
2465 South Broad Street,
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I have no idea when, exactly, this particular stand-alone theatre opened, though it was certainly open in the late-1970’s. Its fortunes seemed to run concurrent with its "anchor", Independence Mall: by the end of the 1980’s it became all too apparent that the only course of action was to either close and demolish the Mall as it was, or rebuild it and try to get away from its seedy, dangerous reputation. When the decision was made to tear down the existing open-air mall and rebuild and redesign it, the Eric Twin’s days were numbered (as were ALL Eric/Sameric theatres, really). With no other first-run cinemas in the immediate area, this one thrived…until a year or so before its closure, by which time it had gone beyond ‘well-used’ and into the area of your stereotypical urban-area dump: sticky floors, dusty surfaces, shabby carpeting, rundown, out-of-date decor, that unmistakable scent that mishandled theatres always have…That the crowd, the Mall (with its poorly-lit, creepy, dark, foreboding corners and stores that seemed more like ghost towns), or the area surrounding the theatre, or all three, had grown unsavory certainly didn’t help matters.
This Eric was as every Eric Theatre you ever saw: cookie-cutter, nothing particular memorable, decor-wise, but not unpleasant, just…outdated, as time wore on and changes weren’t made to keep things fresh and new. By 1994 or so, it was history, and it sat there, empty, abandoned, a sad reminder of the ‘old’ Independence Mall. The new theatre, the Destinta 12, unlike the Eric Twin, is now directly connected to the Mall, which, once again, is open-air but infinitely safer in appearance.
One very interesting bit of trivia about this particular Eric Twin: in 1982 it trumpeted in the local newspapers ("The Trentonian" and "The Trenton Times", for those who are curious) that it had been showing "An Officer and a Gentleman" for over six months. Now that I think about it, they DID seem to often keep some films for a long time. Sadly, when it did finally shut its doors for good, that area of Trenton was left without a cinema, until the Destinta opened, making necessary a trip to Lawrenceville or Princeton for the Quaker Bridge AMC 4, the Mercer Mall General Cinema, or Market Fair).
On a sidenote: I remember their popcorn as being merely so-so, while the soda was very watery.
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