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'VIP' movie theater could open by September in Palmyra area

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The new movie theater in Lebanon County could open in late September, as construction workers are busy transforming it into a new format.

Flagship Cinemas of Cambridge, Mass., bought the former Cinema Center in North Londonderry Township around Memorial Day and has been renovating the theater that has been vacant since 2009 into a state-of-the-art "VIP" experience. The trend is popular in new theater construction and conversion, according to Flagship Cinemas Vice President Paul Wenger.

AMC Theaters, he said, has committed $600 million to converting all of its theaters to the new trend.

“We didn’t create it, but we certainly see its benefit,” Wenger said, adding the renovation will cost “several million” dollars.

The theater will open with eight of the 12 available screens operational, with intentions to open the other four screens if business dictates it, Wenger said.

All of the seats in each of the theaters will be large “La-Z-Boy-type” chairs that recline electronically.

Flagship has converted some theaters at three of its 11 cineplexes to the chairs, but this will be the first location where all the theaters in the complex will be built that way.

The reclining chairs cut a theater’s capacity by about half, but Wenger said in theaters where they have installed the chairs, attendance has risen because people are looking for the experience of being in those theaters.

“This is the way the industry is going,” Wenger said. “I have a very good feeling about this theater.”

Flagship formerly owned the movie theater in the Hampden Shopping Center on the Carlisle Pike in Hampden Township. It sold the theater, which is still open, in December.

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