NORTH OLMSTED — After a 13-year absence, moviegoers in western Cuyahoga County and eastern Lorain County will again be able to see movies at Great Northern Mall.
A 10-screen multiplex featuring state-of-the-art visual and audio technology, including specialized equipment to enhance moviegoing for people with hearing or vision problems, will open Dec. 9.
The Regal Great Northern Mall Stadium 10 and RPX will open an approximately 50,000-square-foot facility on the southeast side of the mall between the JC Penney and Sears department stores, according to mall spokeswoman Annie Dorsey.
“The community has been asking for movies to come back to Great Northern for quite some time,” Dorsey said. “We’ve been working toward this project for several years.”
The last theaters to operate in the area of Great Northern Mall were in an adjacent shopping plaza. Opened in 1966 as a single-screen theater, the theater was owned by the old Cleveland-based National Theater Corp. chain, which subsequently expanded to a two-screen and eventually to a seven-screen venture.
When the complex closed in 2000, it was operated by Regal.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., the chain is the nation’s largest movie theater operator, with more than 7,000 screens in 42 states.
“Cleveland is a very important market for Regal, and we recently invested in (an expansion at) the Regal theaters at Crocker Park,” Russ Nunley, Regal Entertainment Group’s vice president of marketing and communications, said in a statement.
Nunley said the company was glad to add the new theaters at Great Northern, “which is going through a resurgence of its own.”
“We think it will be a popular location and definitely attract more people to come to that mall,” Nunley said.
In addition to screening 3-D films, the new Regal complex also will sport a 55-foot-wide RPX screen backed by a 40,700-watt digital audio surround sound system.
Specially designed lightweight eyewear will aid patrons with hearing problems by allowing them to read dialogue and other descriptive language via closed-captioning, while wireless receivers and special headsets let customers who are blind or have low vision hear special descriptive audio tracks without needing special screenings or seating.
All 10 auditoriums will offer digital projection, staggered stadium seating for unobstructed views and high-back, rocking chair-style seats with movable cupholder armrests.
Prior to the theater’s Dec. 13 grand opening, moviegoers can enjoy three days of recently released films Dec. 9 through 11 for $2 admission to benefit charities including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Cleveland Kids in Need and United Way of Greater Cleveland.
Free small popcorn and drinks will be handed out with each paid admission between Dec. 12 and 19.
The mall also will celebrate a new entrance and new restaurants during the Dec. 13 grand opening.
Great Northern Mall recently changed owners from the Australian-based Westfield Group to Chicago-based Starwood Retail, a division of the Starwood Capital hotel group, Dorsey said.