8290 La Palma Ave., Buena Park, CA.
(714) 826 – 7469
Operators: Krikorian Premiere Theatres
Current Use: Film/First Run
Seating: 5000 Stadium
The Krikorian Buena Park Metroplex 18 was opened in the spring of 2003. Built behind the Buena Park mall, as part of a mall redevelopment project, the freestanding structure sits on the former site of a JC Pennys, in an entertainment strip known as the “Buena Park Downtown”. The theatre was intended as Krikorian Premiere Theatres’ flagship location and the company’s first venture in to a new style of mega plex, the “metroplex”.
With a classic movie palace inspired lobby and high end accoutrements throughout, the metroplex was planned to bring together the grand movie going experience of yesteryear’s movie palaces with the function of modern megaplexes. From imported crystal chandeliers and commissioned artwork, to a custom designed Klipsch sound system and top of the line equipment, no expense was spared. At some point, the effort almost took on a “spending money for the sake of spending money” approach and several of the luxury features, such as the “sky bar lounge” never materialized as fully functional.
The building was constructed in a typical megaplex T shape, with the four large, 450 seat, auditoriums off of the lobby and remaining theatres down two hallways. The projection booth was broken in to three areas, separated by the “Skybar Lounge”. A large room was located at the end of each first floor hallway, one converted to a birthday party/event rental room, the other left unfinished and used for concession storage. A surprisingly small office and employee locker area were positioned on either side of the expansive women’s restroom.
Unfortunately, the grand vision never lived up to attendance expectations, as the theatre settled in to a rather average megaplex business level. Isolated behind a half vacant mall, that never kept pace with the theatre, the metroplex stands as somewhat of a wasted effort.
The four largest auditoriums are equipped with Klipsch KMX 4-T grand speakers and feature both Dolby Digital and SDDS capability.
A cafe and customer service booth were planned for either side of the lobby, but never moved beyond the planning stage.
A pair of xenon powered spotlights were installed on the theatre’s roof, with the promise of twin beams reaching seven miles in to the night sky. While resulting in the need for an FAA permit and hefty electrical bills, the beams proved to be far less dramatic than advertised; barely visible most nights, amid the well lit urban area.
A “mobile” concession stand was constructed to handle concession stand overflow; designed to be rolled out during high volume periods and plugged in to a hallway network outlet. However, the stand was never put in to use, due to modest business levels and the oversite of building the “mobile” stand from the same materials as the main concession stand, making it far from mobile.
The enormous artwork panels, that line the building’s exterior, all feature the artist (bearded man in a knit cap) and his friends. One also features the general manager of Krikorian’s Monrovia location.
The theatre opened with 133 staff members, twelve managers, seven projectionists, four supervisors, and two restroom attendants.
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