Eric Twin at Independence Mall

2465 South Broad Street,
Hamilton, NJ 08610

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Eric Twin at Independence Mall

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The Eric Theatre at Independence Mall was opened on April 18, 1973. It was later twinned. 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and into the area of your stereotypical urban-area dump: sticky floors, dusty surfaces, shabby carpeting, rundown, out-of-date decor, that unmistakable scent that mishandled theatres always have…That the crowd, the Mall (with its poorly-lit, creepy, dark, foreboding corners and stores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as every Eric Theatre you ever saw: cookie-cutter, nothing particular memorable, decor-wise, but not unpleasant, just…outdated, as time wore on and changes weren’t made to keep things fresh and new.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.

Contributed by John Abramson

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

hondo59
hondo59 on February 21, 2008 at 6:36 pm

The comments by John are very true. The last film I saw here was “Messenger of Death”. There’s not much to say about it other than it had dirty drapes and sticky floors. I recall that there were rocking chairs in the rear of the auditorium. I believe it was built as a single screen theater along with the Eric Lawrence in the Lawrence Shopping Center in another suburb of Trenton.

It almost fell victim to the contruction of I-295 in the mid-eighties. The interstate eventually abutted the SE side of the building. As indicated above, the entire Independence Mall (open air) hit hard times and ended up mostly abandoned. It used to house S. P. Dunham’s and Hurley-Tobin Department stores (both buildings still stand) and a Murphy’s (razed). Only part of the mall was torn down. The Eric was completely razed and a strip center was built on that portion of the lot.

The RKO Hamilton on South Broad Street (now a church) is nearby.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 22, 2008 at 2:50 pm

John, Thanks! Ask and ye shall receive!

“THE SHOW STARTS ON THE SIDEWALK” by Maggie Valetine

John
John on January 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Hondo59 is right: only PART of the mall was torn down. He’s also right about its possibility of closing with the I-295 construction in the 80’s. Sorry to have left those out but thank you to Hondo59! Touching on the mall’s unsavory reputation, can anyone verify what I had always heard as a kid: a young woman was mugged and killed there, in one of those awful, dark corridors? For an open-air mall, it could be – even during daylight, mind you! – ridiculously foreboding and downright scary. Any word on how the Destinta is doing? We moved from the area in 2003.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 2, 2013 at 7:56 pm

This opened on April 18th, 1973 and twinned, opening along with the Fairless Hills on November 12th, 1976. Listings stopped in 1989. ads and pic posted here.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Trenton area grand openings are at http://sdrv.ms/1czjwIR

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