Cinetopia to begin phased opening Friday

Some auditoriums at new mall venue will start showing movies

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Vancouver-based Cinetopia will open a portion of its third and largest movie venue at Westfield Vancouver mall on Friday for a sneak peak at what's being billed as the largest movie screen in the Pacific Northwest.

Box offices will open at noon at Cinetopia's entrances near the mall food court on the upper level and near the children's play area on the mall's lower level. The opening will give eager patrons a chance to sample a few of the venue's 23 separate movie theaters, accessible via hallways and lobbies with lit-up media displays that will broadcast animation graphics for an ongoing movie experience.

"It's almost like a theme-park attraction," said Rudyard Coltman, Cinetopia owner. He has hired 140 employees to staff the $18 million venue.

The project includes more than 2,400 seats for moviegoers in venues that range from intimate, 50-patron parlor-style theaters to a 400-seat auditorium and skybox living-room theater.

The large auditorium will feature the movie "Snow White and the Huntsman" on an 80-foot screen for the sneak peak. "Men in Black 3" and "The Avengers" will be showing on Cinetopia's 70-foot screens, while parlor-style theaters will feature "The Hunger Games" and "The Dictator."

'An unveiling each week'

Ticket prices will vary at Cinetopia, which will charge $6 for all children younger than 11; $8.50 for students with identification; and $10 or more for adults, Coltman said.

Concessions will be open during Cinetopia's sneak peak, but a pub-style restaurant won't open until June 8. Other parts of the two-story venue are expected to come online over the next three weeks.

"We'll have an unveiling each week leading up to an official grand opening on June 22," Coltman said.

The mall venue is Cinetopia's third development. Its popular eight-screen Vancouver theater opened in 2005. A second project -- a multiplex at the Progress Ridge Town Center mall in Beaverton, Ore. -- opened last year.