Moviegoers will slip into plusher seats and experience more lifelike sound when the new management of the North Riverside Park Mall Theaters soon begin a major facelift, a company official said.
New owners of the six-screen cinema plan to add stadium seating and improve the digital surround-sound in the theaters, said Ronald Rooding, CEO of Village Theatres. Rooding’s firm recently bought the North Riverside movie house from AMC Entertainment, which merged with Loews in late January.
Stadium seating will first be installed in two of the largest theaters, he said.
“We want to be ready by summer when the big blockbusters are released,” Rooding said.
Remodeling plans also include improvements to the lobby and upgrades to the digital Dolby stereo to six channels. Customers will experience a better impact of planes flying overhead and sounds of action scenes with two additional stereo channels, he said.
Other changes are intended to attract a wider audience. More G- and PG-rated films will be shown to draw young families, he said. In April, “The Wild,” a G-rated animated Walt Disney film, will be on the big screen at North Riverside.
Rooding said Loews booked more adult-type pictures than kiddie flicks at the North Riverside cinemas. Young children who tag along family members in the mall are an untapped market, he said.
“That’s something we’re changing and offering family pictures,” he said. “It’s a natural environment for [an abundant young audience].”
Rooding, a Chicago native, said discount tickets at $5 are available to students, seniors and members of the military. The cinemas, which hold about 2,000 seats, may get more than a facelift next year when another six screens could be added, he said.
Village Theatres signed a 10-year lease with the mall, said Rob Ebel, North Riverside Park Mall leasing director and interim general manager. He said theater customers will greatly appreciate the changes.
“It’s a great asset to the mall,” he said. “Loews wasn’t doing much with the theaters.”
About 130 shops complement mall anchors J.C. Penney, Carson’s and Sears. The Feil Organization, a New York-based real estate company, owns and manages the North Riverside Park Mall.
Village Theatres, a privately owned Waukegan-headquartered firm, runs 10 movie complexes in four states, including seven in Illinois. The company branched into the western suburbs with the purchase of theaters in North Riverside and Bloomingdale.
Village Theatres expects to buy more properties, but Rooding would not disclose their locations. The company also will open two to three new theaters in the Chicago area by 2007, he said.
To checkout the show times in North Riverside, visit www.villagetheatres.com.