Thought this would make interesting conversation. I'm not really a fan of the dinner and movie concept. I go to a movie to watch it and not be distracted. Would the clinking of glasses in silverware really add to the movie experience?
REDSTONE'S BRIDGE TO L.A.
'Dinner-quality' food, drink; waiter service at seats touted
By CARL DIORIO
A co-venture involving Sumner Redstone's National Amusements circuit set a splashy L.A. debut for its movies-and-dining concept, the Bridge, by announcing a deal Wednesday to lease a new megaplex originally built for Edwards Theatres in southwest Los Angeles.
The lease agreement with developer J.H. Snyder Co. for 18 screens including a possible Imax theater at Hughes Corporate Center effectively represents National's first venue in Southern California and the inaugural site for its Bridge concept. The L.A. launch is part of plans to roll out an unspecified number of Bridge multiplexes in select cities nationwide, with key amenities involving "dinner-quality" food and beverage and possible waiter service at patrons' theater seats.
"Details are still being worked out," spokeswoman Jennifer Maguire said.
Dedham, Mass.-based National, which was Redstone's initial entertainment business and still parent to his giant Viacom conglom, is a 1,350-screen circuit largely concentrated in the Northeast. Properties operated under the Bridge concept are part of a CineBridge joint venture between National and businessman Paul Heth, who's previously been active in international exhibition.
"We are thrilled to bring this new concept to Los Angeles, the hub of the movie industry," said Shari Redstone, chairman-CEO of CineBridge and prexy at National.
"The Bridge experience will be unlike anything moviegoers have witnessed before," said CineBridge prexy Heth. "The combination of new-age style and technology will introduce a whole new level of entertainment that speaks to the digital generation."
Development chief Jerry Snyder said, "I am thrilled to have a tenant of the quality and the financial strength of National Amusements."
J.H. Snyder, which is co-venturing with Orix Real Estate on a lavish new retail annex to the Hughes center dubbed Entertainment Promenade, booted Edwards from the project when the Newport Beach-based exhib missed a payment just before slipping into Chapter 11 reorganization in August.
A total of 18 theaters and an Imax-sized auditorium already have been constructed, awaiting only the addition of seats and screens. But National has decided to turn one of the theaters into additional lobby space and is negotiating with large-format operators for the giant-screen space.
Other amenities planned for all Bridge multiplexes include upscale lobby lounges, concierge services and valet parking, officials said.
National has set an early summer opening for its L.A. megaplex. Several restaurant and retail stores also are planned for the Hughes center's new 250,000-square-foot Entertainment Promenade, with a Borders book store and Nordstrom Rack outlet set to open within the next few weeks
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