Knoxville, Tennessee – October 14, 2010 – The Forge Cinemas in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee scheduled to open October 15, with preview event Thursday, October 14.
The official grand opening for The Forge Cinemas is Friday, with first run features including Jackass 3D (R), Red (PG13) and Secretariat (PG). A special private event for members of the community, area businesses, city officials and the press is being held this evening, Thursday, October 14. This ‘Grand Opening Celebration’ starts at 6:30pm and features an official ribbon cutting for the cinema at 7PM followed by a selection of movies for the cinema’s first audience. The new theatre is the only all stadium seating cinema in the area offering Hollywood movies on the big screen and using the latest digital projection technology in every auditorium. The cinema is even capable of offering high quality Digital 3-D presentations in all five auditoriums as well.
“With the addition of The Forge Cinemas to its current mix of great restaurants and unique shopping, Walden’s Landing has become an ideal place to spend the evening. We are extremely proud to offer this state-of-the-art theatre to the community,” said Ned Vickers, a developer for Holrob Investments and a partner in Walden’s Landing and Pigeon Forge Cinemas. “I’ve heard the phrase, ‘We’ve needed this for a long time.’ almost daily over last several months as the theatre has been under construction. We’re tremendously grateful that there’s so much excitement and community support.”
The state-of-the-art five screen theatre has over 600 seats and is situated in the Walden’s Landing development to attract local residents and tourists visiting the nearby Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas. Moviegoers will enjoy stadium seating, with each row elevated for an unobstructed view, and plush high-back rocking chair seating. The theatre features all Digital Projection for a pristine picture quality, Digital 3-D and the latest in Digital Surround Sound. Additionally, the theatre features a wide selection of movie concessions and for added convenience, offers online advance ticketing through MovieTickets.com.
Financing for the project was provided by Citizens National Bank, a locally owned community bank with $825 million in assets. The bank’s headquarters are located in Sevierville with 18 branches serving Sevier, Jefferson, and Knox counties.
Free Popcorn with each paid admission October 15 – October 24, 2010.
The Knoxville based company, Phoenix Big Cinemas Management, will manage the new cinema. “We are proud to help bring a state-of-the-art theatre to a new market. The popular tourist destination and community will now have a local destination for Hollywood entertainment that it has never had before,” stated Phil Zacheretti, President and CEO. “The theatre is situated in a terrific location and will make a great addition to the area.” Phoenix Big Cinemas Management manages 24 theatres with a total of 186 screens in 13 states.
Karen Lane, VP of Marketing & Advertising
Phoenix Big Cinemas Management
865-692-4061 ext 223
Phil Zacheretti, President & CEO
Phoenix Big Cinemas Management
865-692-4061 ext 228
By DEREK HODGES
Staff Writer, The Mountain Press
One week from today, local residents will have a chance to be part of what might be the biggest movie debut in Sevier County’s history, but don’t expect to see any celebrities making cameos in town.
The event won’t be the grand opening of one new show by the opening of a grand new theater that will provide a lifetime of shows in a state-of-the-art facility that the leader of its management company says is “as nice a theater as is being built anywhere in this country.”
In the place where 12,000-square-feet of mostly-vacant storefronts once sat in Waldens Landing, the new Forge Cinemas has gone up, with its glittering facade rising four stories from the sidewalk below. When it opens in grand style next Friday, it will offer five screens of all-digital projection, with each projector capable of producing realistic three-dimensional effects.
While that’s special enough as it is, with only a handful of other theaters in the nation known to have that technology throughout, the men in charge of the area’s first new screens in decades say that’s far from the last special touch. Every detail, from the carpet designed for the facility to the specially-designed rocking stadium seats, was considered in the project, Waldens Landing developer Ned Vickers says.
“We tried to design it to be the best thing we could possibly do in every area,” Vickers says. “It probably cost us a lot more money than it should have, but we believe it’s worth it for the product we’ve ended up with.”
“I’ll put this theater up against any other one being built in America today,” says Phil Zacheretti, president of Phoenix Big Cinemas, which will be managing the facility. “It’s as good or better than anything else out there. This is not an afterthought of a theater. This is first-rate.”
Before any worries arise about how that cost will be offset, Vickers is quick to point out the ticket prices for shows at Forge Cinemas will be right at the average for East Tennessee, even cheaper than a few of those in Knoxville.
The flourishes start outside, with a facade designed to fit in with the 1950s Main Street appearance carried through the entire complex. It’s lit by hundreds of glowing compact fluorescent bulbs, a move made both to be environmentally friendly and economically conservative.
Tickets for the shows will be available for pre-order at www.movietickets.com up to several weeks in advance for big shows such November’s newest Harry Potter release. They can also be purchased at the theater both from cashiers at the front doors or an automated kiosk inside the lobby.
“This can really speed things up when there’s a big line outside,” Vickers says. “You just come inside, touch the screen a few times and you’re ready to go.”
Inside the lobby, folks will likely notice the to-be-expected smell of yellow-buttered popcorn filling the air, but at Forge Cinemas that scent will be joined by some other, more surprising ones.
“We do more than just your standard popcorn, candy and Coke,” Zacheretti says. “We’ll also have nachos, pretzel bites, hot dogs, even pizza.”
There will also be ice cream on the menu, though a more unique frozen treat will be offered in a room just off the lobby. In an area once intended to be an arcade, a sundae-serving robot offer up a rainbow of flavors and toppings through a system called Discovery Ice Cream, which is only in use at one other place in the world, Vickers says.
As movie-goers filter into their respective theaters, Zacheretti hopes they’ll notice they’re not banging their knees making their way through the aisles of seats.
“These are full-rocker, stadium seats that our company designed that, we believe, are more comfortable than anything else out there,” he says. “Since they rock, you need a little extra space for them. We could have used other seats and gotten 20 percent more seats in each theater, but we wanted to do this right.”
With all that comfort in the seats, one might be concerned about falling asleep during the show. That’s not likely to happen, though, with Dolby Digital Surround Sound that envelopes the room with effects, while bass notes boom out from woofers below the screen itself. The system is so powerful that both Vickers and Zacheretti were surprised to feel it rumbling up through their feet as they stood on the roof of the building during a tour Thursday.
“Is that us?” Zacheretti asked, shocked.
For special shows, like that upcoming Harry Potter release, Zacheretti hopes the complex will be able to get the picture, which comes on a hard drive and is uploaded from it to the projection system, a day early. He wants to start showing those at midnight, offering all five screens for the Hogwarts fans and die-hard devotees of other films.
That concession is one Zacheretti hopes to make not just because it would undoubtedly please those folks, but also because he’s afraid the theater, with just under 700 seats, would be found wanting if all those people tried to crowd in for the show while others were there to watch another.
It’s something of a running joke between the two men that Zacheretti, throughout the process, has insisted they need more space and more seats. While there are plans to add more screens and another 600 seats, and Vickers says work will likely start on those shortly after the facility opens, Zacheretti believes the cinema should open with the additional room.
“The only thing I think we’re missing here is more seats,” he says with a laugh. “I keep telling (Vickers) we’re just going to be jam-packed. People are going to love this.”
There’s good reason to think Zacheretti’s prodding and Vickers’ plans for expansion are justified. A survey Vickers commissioned determined local folks alone would buy hundreds of thousands of tickets a year at Forge Cinemas, not to mention the tourists who might be enticed to see a show. Both men say they’ve been hearing from local residents, burned by past promises of new theaters, who are excited to take in a flick.
“I’ve never before been involved with a project that has as much interest as this has,” Vickers says. “It’s just going to be great to have a nice place the locals can come and enjoy a movie. I love what we’ve been able to do here and I’m excited to open it and see what people think.”
Walden’s Landing and Phoenix Big Cinemas are pleased to officially announce the development of a 5 screen, state-of-the-art movie theatre to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The yet-to-be-named theatre will feature 5 stadium seating auditoriums with a total of 632 seats located in the heart of the Pigeon Forge tourist area near the Great Smoky Mountains. The cinema will feature all digital projection, digital 3D and digital surround sound, to offer guests a state-of-the-art moviegoing experience. The theatre, located in Walden’s Landing off of the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, is projected to open late summer 2010.
Pigeon Forge Cinemas is developing the theatre which will be managed by Phoenix Big Cinemas, a Knoxville based theatre management company. Financing for the project will be provided by Citizens National Bank, a locally owned community bank with $825 million in assets. The bank’s headquarters are located in Sevierville with 18 branches serving Sevier, Jefferson, and Knox counties.
“Citizens National Bank has always taken an active role in financing the growth of our market area,” says David C. Verble, the bank’s President and CEO. ”The development of the movie theatre at Walden’s Landing will provide jobs for residents and additional tourist business for the county.”
The project has already led to positive reactions from the community and Pigeon Forge businesses. ”I have never been involved in a proposed project that has generated as much excitement and anticipation before construction has even started,” said Ned Vickers, a developer for Holrob Investments and a partner in Walden’s Landing and Pigeon Forge Cinemas. “I get questions about it everywhere I go. I believe that people in the county are excited about having a new, state-of-the-art theatre in town.”
The new theatre is also helping to drive business and additional growth to the area. Vickers commented, “The economic downturn has disproportionately hurt small businesses, and the merchants at Walden’s Landing are no exception. One of the reasons we decided to build this theater in Walden’s Landing is to increase foot traffic in the mall and help our merchants. We have already had an increase in leasing activity as news of the theater has leaked out.”
In fact, the local Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchisee, Gibby Lepsig, said, “We instantly knew Walden’s Landing was a great match for Five Guys but the icing on the cake was the opening of the new movie theater. We feel the theater will generate a great deal of energy for all the shops in Walden’s Landing and ultimately made our decision to open our first Sevier County store a lot easier.” Five Guys will open in Walden’s Landing in early May.
“We are absolutely thrilled about the new movie theater coming to our plaza,” commented Pam McKay, owner of the Colour Bar and Spa in Walden’s Landing. “The impact will be huge not only to us, but to the entire community. There is a need for a new theater in the area for locals and tourists alike.”
Though the development plans are moving quickly, the new theater does not yet have an official name. To help in this process and get the community involved, Vickers announced a contest for guests to name the new cinema. Beginning in March and continuing through the end of April, customers can register for tickets to the Grand Opening Premier at any Walden’s Landing store by filling out a card suggesting a name for the theater. A random drawing will be held from all entries with 50 pairs of tickets given out to the opening celebration of the cinema. The person who suggests the winning name will also receive a year of free movies.
The Knoxville based company, Phoenix Big Cinemas, will manage the new cinema. “We are proud to help bring a state-of-the-art theatre to a new market. The popular tourist destination and community will now have a local destination for Hollywood entertainment, as well as, everything else Pigeon Forge has to offer,” stated Phil Zacheretti, President and CEO. ”The theatre is situated in a terrific location and will make a great addition to the area.” Phoenix Big Cinemas Management currently manages 24 theatres with a total of 178 screens in 15 states.
Hollywood will have a prime spot along the Parkway in Pigeon Forge soon.
A Knoxville developer has plans to build a $3.6 million movie theater in the area.
Pigeon Forge is full of restaurants, live shows and shopping destinations. However, the town is lacking a movie theater.
Pigeon Forge visitors said a movie theater would be a great addition to the already entertainment-oriented area.
“Sometimes when you’re tired of shopping and it’s really kind of cold outside, you just want to be able to go to a movie and enjoy that,” said tourist Victoria King.
That’s where Holro Investments of Knoxville takes the director’s seat.
“They say you need one screen for 10,000 residents. If Sevier County has 85,000 people, we have a six screen theater right now,” said Ned Vickers with Holrob Investments. “We’re not meeting the local need, not to mention the tourists who come.”
A new theater inside Walden’s Landing in Pigeon Forge will take up six storefronts. Construction should be complete in August.
“The first phase of the theater is going to be 5 screens, 632 seats. We have room to expand another 600 seats,” said Vickers.
Knoxville-based Phoenix Big Theaters hopes to open doors before Labor Day.
Walden’s landing is holding a “Name the Theater” contest in March and April.
The winner gets tickets to the grand opening.
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