Posted by Julia Leef '14
Students and community members will finally be able to enjoy the newly-finished renovations at the Bow Tie Wilton Mall Cinemas, which has been under construction since March 1. The theater, which opens to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, will sport eight upgraded screens and a large-format Bow Tie Xtreme auditorium, which features a 2,000 square foot screen.
Bow Tie Cinemas, which took over for Regal Cinemas after it vacated Wilton Mall last February, is a four generation family-owned company which, according to its website, is "dedicated to returning style and elegance to the movie-going experience." While the theater at the Wilton Mall has been completely refurbished, the renovations did not add any square footage to the space.
"We looked at historical film release patterns," Joe Masher, chief operation officer, who offered a media tour of the new theater on Thursday, Oct. 24, said. "We knew this could only have eight [screens] as it was. If we had messed with the architectural design, you would have really tiny auditoriums." Masher, who grew up in Troy, has been with Bow Tie Cinemas for ten years.
The new theater will provide 1,250 deluxe custom leather rocking chairs, with auditorium sizes ranging from 135 to 250 seats. All theaters will support Dolby Digital surround sound and wall-to-wall screens.
Masher praised Wilton Mall for its help in the renovations, repaving the parking lot, replacing the entrance doors, and adding on extra security to cover the theater times.
"The mall's been phenomenal to us," Masher said.
Unlike the downtown theater, Criterion Cinemas, which opened on Oct. 18 and provides screenings of older films as part of Movies & Mimosas? and Cine Classics, Masher said, the theater in the Wilton Mall will focus more on major Hollywood releases and family films.
Additional features of the movie theater include a private birthday party room, and an entire auditorium that can be booked as part of the Private Premiere Party package, which also offers parties before the theater opens to the general public and kid packs for a minimum of 25 adults and children. Patrons may also purchase the Deluxe Party package for a minimum of ten children, which includes kid packs, reserved seating, and the use of the party room for one hour before or after the selected movie during regular business hours.
In addition to the regular hours of operation, there will also be continuous bargain matinees, daily evening shows, extra early matinees on weekends and holidays, Classics shown every Saturday and Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and Insomnia Theater every Friday and Saturday at 11:30 p.m.
The longer hours at the Bow Tie Wilton Mall Cinemas, as well as the addition of the second downtown movie theater, has created new jobs for the area. According to Masher, between the two theaters, the company employs 70 part-time and six to eight full-time employees. Masher declined to comment about the cost of the renovations, as Bow Tie Cinemas is a privately-funded family operation.
Bow Tie Cinemas has received a warm reception from the community thus far, Masher said, and several advance screenings, with an advanced screening of "12 Years a Slave" for Saratoga Reads at the downtown theater on Oct. 17 and a free screening at Wilton for nearly 300 mall employees and their guests on Oct. 24, yielding higher attendances than expected. Bow Tie Cinemas projects approximately 750,000 patrons a year, according to Masher, but based on this early excitement, he said, the actual turn-out could be higher.
In addition, Bow Tie Wilton Mall Cinemas plans to host special events throughout the year, including the Bow Tie Cinemas' Free Kids' Summer Film Series, which will provide free kids movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and special showings of movies such as "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Night of the Living Dead," as well as concerts and special events for kids.
Masher also said the theater would be considering a caregivers program for which they would provide bottle-warming stations and movies at a low-volume for patrons with young charges.
When asked whether maintaining two theaters in such close proximity to each other would be difficult, Masher expressed confidence that Bow Tie Cinemas would be able to control the entire market area, and that they were even looking to expand, although he did not specify to which areas. Masher explains that the design differences between the two theaters, as well as the fact that they would not have to compete with each other for film screenings, would help with this.
"We're not a cookie-cutter operation," Masher said. "If you travel around and look at our sites, no two are the same."
There will be a special discount for students who provide their ID cards ($9 matinees and $10 evening shows), as well as "Super Tuesday," which will feature all-day $6 movies. The theater will also sell "bonus tickets," which patrons can buy in advance for $7 each and exchange at the box office for a general admission ticket for any movie at any time (with a $3 surcharge for 3D films), unless it has sold out or is being rented out for a private screening or premiere. These bonus tickets will be sold in booklets of 50 or in packs of two at BJs and will never expire.
The Grand Opening of the new Bow Tie Wilton Mall Cinemas at 6 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on Oct. 24 showed screenings of "Free Birds," "Last Vegas" and "About Time," with tickets selling for $20 for adults, $10 for teenagers, and $5 for children aged 12 and under. Sales will benefit the Saratoga Regional YMCA.
Both the Bow Tie Wilton Mall Cinemas and the Criterion Cinemas will open at noon on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends. Bow Tie Wilton Mall Cinemas is located at 3065 Route 50, and Criterion Cinemas is at 19 Railroad Place. This week's showings will include "Bad Grandpa," "Gravity" in 2D and 3D, "Escape Plan," "Captain Philips," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" and "Rush." Ticket prices may be found on the theater website.