Monday November 29, 2010

Feature Story

Oh My Starry Eyed Surprise

Galaxy Cinemas in Chilliwack is BC's first all-digital theatre venue

Craig Hill/Voice photos      


Flanked by Cineplex employees, GM Jay Haraga (L), Coun. Chuck Stam, CEO Eliis Jacob and Squiala band Chief David Jimmie cut the ribbon opening the new Galaxy Cinemas in Chilliwack last Thursday.


alaxy Cinemas at Eagle Landing got it's official lift-off last Thursday with a gala celebration and ribbon-cutting. President and CEO of Cineplex Entertainment, Ellis Jacob, as well as Chilliwack City councillors and other dignitaries, were on hand  to cut the ribbon to the city's exciting new entertainment venue.

The evening was a very classy affair. Guests mingled and schmoozed, toting beverages and tucking away delicious hors d'oeuvres courtesy of Cineplex and served by their gracious staff.

Pat Marshall, Vice President of Communications and Investor Relations of Cineplex Entertainment spoke with the Voice saying that the people who attended the opening Friday, Nov. 19, thought it was great Chilliwack had it's own big theatre complex.

"I think one of the most common comments that was made in addition to how fabulous it is, 'we're so happy we have this incredible theatre in Chilliwack, now we actually don't have to get on the highway and drive to Langley or any of the other communities, so its so nice to have in their own neighbourhoods," said Marshall.

Marshall said that by far the "runaway hit" was the UltraAVX theatre.

"People would enter the auditorium and they would see the screen and how large it is, and then have this unbelievable experience. We seemed to see a lot of tonsils because their chins were hitting the floor saying 'wow', they just absolutely loved it."

Cineplex hasn't announced if their D-Box motion chairs will be coming to the new facility.

The seats operate individually so the person in the chair then the chair can dial up or dial down the amount of motion they want. Only occupied seats will actually, empty ones remain motionless.

"They're actually motion simulator seats and the seats are synchronized to the action on the screen. So if you were watching, for example, Harry Potter then you would see Harry riding on a broomstick in the middle of a quid ditch match, you in the seat would actually be moving in time to the action on the screen and you would get a sense that you're actually in that action. It's very cool," she said.

Over 800 people applied for 75 part time positions in the position and one of the perks of the job is free movies.

"I think we've got an incredible staff, they're so friendly, so welcoming and I think its very indicative of the community, it's just that people are really lovely here and we so excited to be here," said Marshall.

Laser lights and holograms greet movie watchers as they walk into a spacious atrium style lobby on carpets adorned with shooting stars. The first thing you see are bright orange sentinel-like ticket machines.

To the right of the entrance, a bank of the latest and greatest video games are nestled underneath an upper floor with chairs and tables overlooking the lobby.

On the main floor behind the lobby, a snack lover's paradise awaits with a wall of concession items from Pizza Pizza and TCBY to Far Coast. A birthday party room, available for private functions is alongside the hallway to the auditoriums.

The complex has 8 big screens, UltraAVX sound, RealD3D digital projection and stadium seating. It's all wheelchair friendly and hearing assistance is available.

The movies will open in the largest auditorium and then move to the two smaller size theatres as the flick goes through it's life cycle.

On Thursday, as part of the entertainment, guests were treated to a choice of three of the latest movies including the new Harry Potter.

Ellis Jacob, President and CEO of Cineplex Entertainment, told guests that whenever a new theatre is constructed, "It's like having a new baby for us."

"Based on the sales of tickets over the past week, the community is just as excited as I am about opening our new theatre," said Jacob.

"Every time we open a new Galaxy theatre it's nicer than the last one that's behind, and as you all know building a theatre is a major project and 125 construction jobs were created here during the build, utilizing many different skills, specialties and talent from everyone involved and the end result is truly outstanding."

"I know that Cineplex Entertainment theatres has provided one of the best entertainment experiences in the world," he added.

Popular local musician, Trevor McDonald and his band set the tone with a smooth jazz beat and later on by Christian Jimmy and family Stó:lō Nation Squiala band drummers who performed welcome songs for guests.

Squaila Chief, David Jimmie thanked their partners in making the day happen.

"We welcome you to our territory with the beat of our drums — it is the beat of our ancestors," said Jimmie.

On Dec. 11, Galaxy Cinemas will host their very first annual Community Day with free movies in the morning. Each year a charity organization will be the beneficiaries of the sales receipts for all $2 regular size popcorn and drinks and this year the proceeds will be going to the Chilliwack Bruins Minor Hockey Association.

"We really look forward to having everybody out. It's a great fun day. It's an easy way for people to enjoy and simultaneously give back to their community," said Marshall.

When asked if Cineplex will be showing film festival movies, Marshall said she couldn't rule that out.

"We'll be looking at a lot of different programming in the next year," she said. "Cineplex Entertainment is a huge supporter of Canadian film and film festivals, so we do a lot of support in that area and we're proud to do that so we'll definitely be looking at a number of things here."

Jay Haraga, Galaxy Cinemas Chilliwack GM told the Voice the opening was very smooth and everyone had a great time.

"Everyone seemed excited in the community about UltraAVX, our new cinema that we have and and I'm excited to be a part of this."

City councillor Chuck Stam told those in attendance that "This marks a historic turning point in the history of Chilliwack. As you look around at this facility, it is a significant investment, one that we'll be entertained by for many many years."

Also in attendance from City Hall were councillors Sue Attrill, Stewart McLean and Pat Clark. Mayor Sharon Gaetz had previous commitments and could not attend.

Each month Cineplex plans to introduce something different including high-definition live performances by the NY of the Metropolitan Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Additionally, world wrestling and assorted sports entertainment events will also be offered at the theatre.

In January, Cineplex will be offering a classic film series with each month featuring a classic film in digital format on the big screen. Classics slated for the new year are; A Star is born, Dr. Zhivago, the Wizard of Oz and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.


Community Day Free Movies

Nanny McPhee Returns - 9:00am

How To Train Your Dragon (3D) - 9:10am

Iron Man 2 - 9:20am

Despicable Me (3D) - 9:30am

Twilight Eclipse - 9:40am


General Admission

UltraAVX General (14-64) $13.99

UltraAVX Child (3-13) $11.50

UltraAVX Senior (65+) $11.50

General (14-64) $10.99

Child (3-13) $8.50

Senior (65+) $8.50

3D General (14-64) $13.99

3D Child (3-13) $11.50

3D Senior (65+) $11.50

Admission pricing for Front Row Centre Events varies by performance.


See the photo gallery below. Background sound used with permission from Squiala Jimmie family drummers who performed their Welcome Song at the gala opening.


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