MOVIE BUFFERS Message Board › Canal Place Re-Opens May 26
New Orleans, LA
Remodeled Canal Place theater on track to re-open May 26
By Mike Scott, The Times-Picayune
March 26, 2010, 1:40PM
Canal Place theater, the sequel, finally has a firm opening date.
The old box office at the Canal Place Cinema will soon be a thing of the past when Southern Theatres unveils a remodeled luxury multiplex at the site on May 26.Southern Theatres owner George Solomon, whose company took over the lease of the downtown multiplex from longtime operator Landmark Theatres in September, said things are on track for a late May reopening of the popular moviehouse.
"We're planning on opening midnight of the 26th," Solomon said. "Whether we'll have a midnight showing, I don't know, but that's the weekend 'Sex and the City 2' comes out. We thought that was a good, conventional picture to open with."
In October, Solomon shuttered the theater, which for years had been the city's flagship arthouse theater, ahead of its $4 million transformation into an all-digital luxury theater. Southern officials have stressed that although the ownership of the theater has changed, it will maintain its focus on bringing small, independent film to New Orleans moviegoers.
What will change, however, is the environment in which they see those movies.
In addition to boasting "very luxurious" reclining seats, the theater -- whose space in the upscale Shops at Canal Place mall has been stripped down to the studs -- is being outfitted with a riser system that will allow for installation of a scaled-back form of stadium seating in the theater's restricted mall setting.
"It's a very modest riser, but a riser nonetheless, so you don't have to have somebody's head in your way," said Solomon, who was expecting the steel for the riser system to be delivered by this week.
In addition, the theater will feature an expanded concessions menu catering to more gourmet tastes. Officials are in talks with local chef Adolfo Garcia of RioMar and La Boca to provide that gourmet fare.
"It'll be mostly hors d'oeuvre-type food," Solomon said. "Not much of what he's going to be doing for us is going to be hot -- it'll be salamis and cheese and olives, that sort of thing."
In addition, plans call for the availability of cocktails and other adult beverages for theater-goers -- along with popcorn and other traditional theater fare, of course. The theater's seats will also each be equipped with a fold-out table so patrons won't find themselves eating off of their laps.
Keeping with the original plans Southern officials laid out late last year, the new Canal Place theater will boast an extra screen -- five of them now, as opposed to the four in its previous configuration -- although they will be smaller than the old screens, with a total of 350 seats.
Also, moviegoers will be able to make online reservations, which will be handy since the facility won't boast a formal box office. If patrons want to buy a ticket on-site, they'll do so at a concierge desk.
"It's not a normal theater," Solomon said, "and that's way we wanted it."
He added: "I think it'll be well-received."
On another front, Solomon said his company's long-delayed plans to build a new multiplex outside Kenner's Esplanade Mall are "still in limbo," although news about that project could be just weeks away.