A new, $30 million Regal theater — and key piece in Lynbrook’s arts and culture district — is set to take center stage this week, in time for a blockbuster movie release.
The approximately 84,000-square-foot, 13-screen Regal Lynbrook 13 & RPX will show its first new movie, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” in a preview Thursday, about two years after the nearly century-old theater it replaced was torn down.
“Regal Lynbrook will provide our guests with luxurious and spacious recliners to go along with the Regal Premium Experience,” Rachel Lueras, Regal marketing manager, said in a statement.
Knoxville, Tennessee-based Regal Entertainment Group would not comment beyond the news release. The chain was bought this year by Cineworld Group, a theater company headquartered in London.
The new 1,383-seat Lynbrook theater at 321 Merrick Rd. was developed by Blumenfeld Development Group of Syosset and The Prusik Group of Manhattan. It is a significant part of the village’s arts and culture district, a designation of the approximately quarter-square-mile area that was enacted by law in 2015 to revitalize the downtown, officials said.
“The new Regal theater will serve as an anchor to the downtown business district, which will create additional foot traffic that will enable Lynbrook’s downtown to thrive,” Village Administrator John Giordano said.
In 2015 the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency granted reductions on sales and mortgage recording taxes of up to $851,000 for the theater project, and a 20-year property tax break.
The former Regal theater was a 23,000-square-foot space that opened in 1922 as a live-show venue. It showed its first movie with sound in 1929.
In 2016 Regal sold the theater to Blumenfeld Development Group, which demolished the building, built the new theater and is leasing it back to Regal, said David Blumenfeld, a principal at the development group.
The new theater features reclining seats with electronic controls, stadium seating and kiosks for self-service ticketing.
“Technologically, it’s the most advanced theater on Long Island. It’s all digital projection and all high-quality sound,” Blumenfeld said.
There is space in the theater for a restaurant and bar to be built, if Regal chooses to do so, he said.
But the new theater lacks a parking lot, since the construction of the larger building removed the 51-space parking lot the old theater had.
Now moviegoers are expected to use surrounding municipal parking lots with metered parking, village spokeswoman Rachel Graham said. Also, a private company, Impressive Parking, will provide a valet service, driving vehicles for $5 each to a nearby lot at 303 Merrick Rd., she said.
In advance of the “Jurassic World” preview, the new Regal Lynbrook theater is holding grand opening events featuring older movies, such as “Wonder Woman,” “Dunkirk” and “Sherlock Gnomes,” for $3 each from Sunday through Tuesday, with proceeds benefiting Variety the Children’s Charity of New York, the Children’s Medical Fund of New York and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Long Island.
Declining movie ticket sales nationwide have spurred movie theaters to invest more in customer amenities, such as reclining seats and full-service restaurants.
The number of movie tickets sold in 2017 was 1.23 billion, the lowest since 1992, according to Box Office Mojo, an online box office reporting service in Seattle.
An estimated 30 percent of movie screens now have gone to recliners, while large chains’ average about 45 percent to 50 percent, said Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for National Association of Theatre Owners, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.
Though attendance may be down, North American box office sales in each of the last three years have topped $11 billion, which is strong enough for theater chains to continue investing in their properties, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, a Reston, Virginia-based media analytics company.
“Once people experience that high-end moviegoing experience, it’s hard to go back,” he said.