Howard History

December 23, 2007

First megaplex attracts a crowd

As reported Dec. 21, 1997, in The Howard Sun:

This weekend's opening of a 14-screen, all-stadium-seating movie theater at Columbia's Snowden Square Shopping Center marked a major step in the megaplexing of the area's film experience. "This is going to be the theater in the area," said William Hunt, a manager at the United Artists Theatre.

United Artist officials said some people got in line an hour before the first show started. By 7 p.m., an estimated 200 moviegoers stood in line.

In the complex's bright purple, yellow and green lobby with a glass ceiling and green neon lights, previews of movies flashed across four 50-inch screens to those waiting in line to get pizza, pretzel bits and ice cream from the 14-station concession stands.

Eventually, they made their way to one of the theaters, which seat 169 to 444.

"I'd seen this style of theater in California, and I was excited to see it come here to Columbia," said Roger Lowry, 34, of Annapolis as he watched previews in the lobby. "I wanted to come check it out."

"The old theaters are outdated and tired," said Nicholas Lazorcheck, a United Artists manager. "This [stadium-style seating] is the new rage."

[Paul McCardell, Sun researcher]

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