Malibu’s sole movie theater will reopen to the public Friday with “Casino Royale” and “Happy Feet” on the menu.
By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor
More than 18 months after being destroyed in a fire, Malibu’s lone movie theater will reopen to the public on Friday at Cross Creek Plaza.
The renovated Malibu Cinemas, which had still not been fully completed when The Malibu Times went to print on Tuesday, includes improvements to the seats and the sound system. There will also be a greater selection of food at the concession stand.
“The unfortunate fire at Malibu Creek Plaza provided us with the opportunity to greatly upgrade the facility to the caliber that the people of Malibu deserve,” said John Hunter, CEO of theater owner Hollywood Theaters, in a press release issued this week.
Malibu Cinemas was not transformed into a stadium-seating facility, as Hunter predicted it could be in an interview last year. It will remain a two-screen theater. Some of the new features include marble floors in the lobby, large, plush reclining leather seats with cup-holders and Dolby Digital Sound. The mostly black and gray screening rooms are darker and quieter; gone are the red curtains and in are large square suede-like paneling. In addition to the usual soda, popcorn and candy, there will be an extended menu at the concession stand that includes the Cinnapretzel, Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, Harry and David’s Moose Munch, Dib’s Ice Cream and Ghirardelli Chocolates.
During The Malibu Times’ exclusive tour on Monday afternoon, last-minute construction was still being conducted on the exterior and lobby area of the theater. But theater officials say the facility will be ready for a private party on Wednesday of this week and for a grand opening to the public on Friday. The movies to be screened are the new James Bond film, “Casino Royale,” and the animated musical, “Happy Feet.”
With the opening of the theater, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop will become the final business still not open after being destroyed in the April 2005 fire. The shop is under construction, but it is not known when it will be completed. Fast Frame was the first fire-destroyed business to reopen, with operation resuming there in late July. The other Cross Creek businesses destroyed in the fire that have since reopened are Bay Cities Beauty Supply, Casa Escobar and Malibu Eye Center.
An electrical malfunction caused a fire on April 17 that destroyed nearly a third of the plaza. It is not known what caused the electrical failure. Capt. A.J. Cunningham from Los Angeles County Fire Station 88 told The Times last year that it could have been a number of things, including old wiring, wiring that was chewed by rodents or a bad connection.
In July 2005, Cross Creek Plaza owner Steve Soboroff said he expected all the businesses, including the movie theater, to reopen by the end of the year. In subsequent interviews with The Times, Soboroff adjusted the time frame for the reopenings each time. This became a source of amusement for many locals.
Theater show time information can be obtained by calling 310.456.6990, visiting the Web site www.gohollywood.com