Starplex Luxury Cinemas at Ridgefield Park 12

75 Challenger Road,
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660

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Opened on December 16, 1988, the Ridgefield Park Tenplex (10 screens at the time) was a Loews ‘flagship’ theater (this in the days before ‘Sony’ Lincoln Square) located beside the NJ Turnpike, just five miles south of the George Washington Bridge.

In its early existence, the four-story, one block-square facility’s opening was promoted by way of a charity volleyball game, between staff members of the then-fledgling, all-sports NY radio station, WFAN (the nation’s first all-sports station, which had begun broadcasting at 660KHz just months prior) and members of the NY Giants football team. The volleyball game, which was staged in just half of the theater’s entry level lobby, is evidence of the vast space available in this modern movie ‘palace’. (Further proof was the regulation-sized basketball backboard which was set up in the lobby to coincide with the opening of the 1994 Shaquille O'Neal vehicle, “Blue Chips”. The equipment was then purchased by the theater’s management team, so that it could be utilized by the staff after hours.)

The lobby was more than 60 yards wide and 3 stories tall. The 85,000 square foot facility was Loews' largest theater in terms of seating and was built at a cost of $15 million.

The theater featured brass appointments, marble tile, wooden banisters on the lobby’s staircases, laser shows in the three story alcoves above the exit doors, the nation’s first VideoWalls, and an attractive burgundy and lavender color scheme. Three concession stands, featuring 14 selling stations (which were initially manned by two attendants each), and two box offices served the building’s six first floor and four third floor auditoriums (a projection booth sits in-between), the largest of which seated 900+ patrons. Six other auditoriums seated between 450 and 550 guests each, while the remaining three ranged from 250-270 each. At least two screens were 70mm equipped (#8, the ‘big house’, and #9).

In later years, the theater was home to two immersive, stand-up virtual reality units, a hydraulically-operated motion simulator ride (the type utilized at amusement parks), and various other (failed) revenue-generating schemes. Despite successful engagements of features such as “Batman”, “Lethal Weapon 2”, “Pretty Woman”, and “The Hunt for Red October”, in the early 1990’s the cinema’s largest auditorium was tripled, resulting in one 500-seat auditorium and two other seating 195 each.

The theater’s original carpet has since been replaced, as have most of the more lavish fixtures (the brass-finish trash cans have been replaced, the exterior lighting has ceased to be utilized, the lasers long ago fell into disrepair, and the VideoWalls have been replaced with huge aluminum “Loews Cineplex” logo signs). The theater is now a ‘bargain’ house, charging $6.50 for adults (except for Friday and Saturday nights, when the price is raised to $7.00 — sort of a reverse bargain matinee!).

Built on a landfill, as are Loews' other Hartz Mountain-owned Meadowlands properties in Secaucus, NJ, the building has actually ‘risen in stature’ over the years. As the surrounding landscaping, parking, and service roads have been sinking steadily, several steps and extensions to the wheelchair access ramp have been necessary, in order for people to make it from the sidewalk up to the theater!

It was closed suddenly on May 10, 2013, and has been taken over by Starplex Cinemas, who reopened it on September 20, 2013.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 55 comments)

hotwaterbottle
hotwaterbottle on May 16, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Breaking news – This theatre suddenly closed it’s doors on May 10. Loews could'nt come to an agreement with the landlord on a new lease, so Loews just shut it down with no warning. HOWEVER, good news! The theatre was purchased, not leased, by Starplex Cinemas of Dallas, Texas. It will be their first theatre in this area. They are planning big changes like a $5 million dollar renovation which includes leather reclining seats, floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall screens, surround sound, and possibly a bar. It was also mentioned that they might reduce the number of screens from 12 to 10; the largest screen would probably be upstairs, possibly restoring it to the way it used to be – the largest movie screen in Bergen County. Ticket prices have'nt been set yet but they may be in the $8.50 range for an adult after 6:00 pm.

John Fink
John Fink on May 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm

This will be Starplex' second try at North Jersey (they sold off Columbia Park which they inherited briefly from Interstate/Cinemark) – I like the concept is lower prices and luxury amenities, and I think with a remodel they could turn this place into a real competitor to Garden State and Edgewater. (The AMC Dine In Theater concept seems to be paying off – Essex Green is frequently sold out on weekends, if there was a market in the country for a higher end movie experience it’d be Bergen County, having new competitors in the market that improve complexes like Starplex and Bow Tie do, is going to be great for moviegoers).

John Fink
John Fink on September 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Opens Sept 20th – it will still have 12 screens, with one auditorium featuring Barco’s 4D sound system and an adult 2D evening ticket price of $10.00. Other future plans a press release mentioned was a bar and expanded concessions – – all and all, I hope they do this one right (the whole complex was in pretty shabby shape last we visited in April) – because if they do, they’ll take this place back to its former glory. Once upon a time this was the coolest theater in North Jersey, with a coffee shop and a motion simulator ride in the lobby – if anything they’ve got an awful lot of lobby space (perhaps they could later carve out a 25-seat micro cinema for indie films).

hdtv267
hdtv267 on September 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm

woo hoo- Dollar Hot Dogs!

http://www.starplexcinemas.com/locations.php?theaterid=1033

Thats the link to the theater page via StarPlex if someone wants to update even more accurately!!

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on October 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Theater now open as of this weekend….

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on October 6, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Name should be changed to Starplex Luxury Cinemas at Ridgefield Park 12….one screen uses 11.1 Auro 3D surround sound, and that’s for Gravity.

fred1
fred1 on October 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Great theater with comfortable reclinder seats and $1.00 hot dogs. Their admission prices are cheaper than other multiplexes in the area

John Fink
John Fink on October 26, 2013 at 4:30 am

Visited tonight – it appears to be a bit of a work in progress (or not….Starplex’s other NJ location – Brunswick Square, also saw very few changes beyond the auditoriums). Great presentation and extremely comfortable black leather-ette recliners – side masking for those that care about that kind of thing (at least in theater #2) along with the promised video monitors in the lobby, snack bar and guiding us into the auditoriums. Once in the hallway no atmosphere what-so-ever- – new carpeting and the removal of the small concession stand downstairs, also no posters or signs beyond (temp?) auditoriums numbers.

Many touches remain including (like Brunswick Square) the bathrooms – which could use some remodeling and other lobby touches. Hopefully they’ll class up the joint a bit more. The customer service however was excellent tonight and the staff was friendly explaining the Starplex rewards card and greeting folks prior to cleaning the auditorium (and showing off how the seats worked for those that hadn’t been in this kind of theater before). Good experience and great value – the adult ticket price at $10 is, I think, the cheapest in Bergen County for by far the best seats. If only the theater wasn’t in such a weird location.

A bar and expanded concessions may be on the way (lobby space is certainly in no shortage). An awful lot to like about this theatre so far – and hopefully Starplex’s work isn’t done yet.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on October 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm

thanks for the review

hotwaterbottle
hotwaterbottle on June 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I stopped by the theatre this past weekend and the place is jumping. The parking lot and garage is fuller than it’s been in years. Inside, the video games are gone as well as the downstairs coffee stand/information desk/junk storage spot. The candy stand upstairs is still there but not in use, like before. The 1-sheet displays downstairs and upstairs are now digital. Regular paper 1-sheets are still used upstairs, but way in the back by the last 2 theatres. The upstairs lobby still looks barren but going up and down the escalators the walls now have large 40x60’s for new films. The theatres now have less seats, but do have large cushy recliners with lots of legroom. Overall, a very nice and much improved theatre.

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