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It's Showtime at Cinépolis

The Rancho Santa Margarita luxury movie theater held a ribbon cutting ceremony and served invited guests on Thursday, but is open to the public this weekend for The Hobbit.

The Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas in Rancho Santa Margarita was supposed to be ready for business back in September, but if reaction to the movie house on Thursday is any indication, it will make up for lost time.

Hundreds showed up at the company's ribbon cutting ceremony, and many got a chance to watch movies from the reclining leather chairs afterward as the company's fifth American theater readies to do business for real.

"We're fully cranking," said Matt Heyman, the head film buyer for Cinepolis. "We've had an excellent response with a lot of reserve seating activity."

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the big movie opening this weekend and is playing on three screens, as well as Argo, Skyfall, and The Life of Pi.

The community response to the ribbon cutting event on Thursday was "better than several other openings," Heyman said. "It's an interesting experiment to see if we can get the community to adopt us as its theater. We want to integrate into the community.

"It's going to be a big deal, and we want to fulfill its entertainment, lounging and eating needs."

The theater is the fifth in America for the Mexico-based chain, which is the fourth-largest in the world. Other theaters are in Del Mar, La Costa, Laguna Niguel and Westlake Village.

The theaters are more like high-end hotels than typical multi-screen theaters. It provides food and beverage service, including adult beverages.

Specific seats can be purchased online or at the box office, which is located inside the lobby—there's no charge to go inside, where one can drink or dine without purchasing a movie ticket.

Cinepolis occupies the former Edwards Cinemas 6 across from City Hall. Heyman was the one responsible for choosing the location, and he was the one who cut the ribbon leading to the six screens. The largest of the six theaters, which feature oversized reclining seats with table service—including adult beverages at some showings—has 98 seats.

Total theater seating in the 30,960 square foot building is 480.

The courtyard in front of the movie house is not yet complete, so those who took in the festivites arrived through a secondary entrance.

Marty Hannigan of Sanderson J. Ray Development, said he "wasn't hopeful" that the location would get one of five locations in which Cinepolis would open. He had begun wooing Cinepolis in June, 2011, and signed a lease last December.

"The turning point came when Tony (Beall, the mayor) went to Del Mar" with the city manager and various other key staff and civic leaders, Hannigan said. "They really pitched the Rancho Santa Margarita community and that really sold them.

"That was the turning point."

Jack Leonard December 14, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Congratulations Mayor Beall to you, fellow councilmembers, city staff, appointed planning commissioners and hundreds of neighboring residents for welcoming Cinepolis last night to Rancho Santa Margarita. It was an incredible, packed house evening. As a third consecutive term Mayor for our city, your continued, consistent efforts have always been to welcome and share the best our city has to offer its businesses and residents. Thank you Cinepolis for selecting RSM; thank you Martin Henderson for being up all night it seems to provide both written and video highlights of this premiere opening. Two, three hour + showings of the Hobbit (thank you Cinepolis staff!); Sally and I proud to be so entertained... in 3D no less. Thrilling!
Charles December 14, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I'll wait for movies to premiere on Pirate Bay.This theater is too expensive for me.
Shawn Gordon December 14, 2012 at 05:34 PM
holy smokes, $20 for a movie ticket? You can buy the DVD for less.
Jim May December 14, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Good job Tony and staff! You all are models of what city government ought to be. We love the theater!
April Josephson December 15, 2012 at 01:26 AM
It was a lovely event, and another great accomplishment for our city. After what I saw yesterday, I am anticipating a long, happy partnership between Cine´polis and our community. Congratulations to all!
JustMe December 16, 2012 at 07:53 AM
What a disgrace. Mayor Beall, Jack Leonard, and the city council should be ashamed of themselves. Now we have to go to Foothill Ranch due to the arrogance they've displayed in taking away a relatively inexpensive family theater and replacing it with this grossly overpriced monstrosity.
Martin Henderson (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 08:51 AM
Dude, you had to go to Foothill Ranch anyway; Edwards/Regal pulled out of RSM a year ago because the "relatively inexpensive family theater" wasn't making any money. The city is lucky another movie house filled the space. Those who will really benefit will be the surrounding businesses, who can finally get some walkup, and that's great news. So is the hiring of 80-100 employees. Cinepolis admits this is not a theater for everybody; just look at the four other locations and you can see a trend in the demographics: Del Mar, La Costa, Laguna Niguel, Westlake Village.
JustMe December 16, 2012 at 08:58 PM
"Dude" - sorry but that's not true - Edwards lease wasn't renewed. We don't need a "this is not a theater for everybody" - we do need one that is. What a shame and a disgrace that the city counsel is now promoting businesses, such a movie theaters, that are designed to exclude large segments of the public by pricing them out. BTW, look at the yelp reviews for Del Mar, Los Costa, Laguna Niguel, and Westlake village. Lots of complaints about exorbitant prices, bad food, etc.
April Josephson December 16, 2012 at 10:25 PM
JM, I have to agree with Martin on this. Your post reads as though you know something that the public doesn't know. However, I spoke with a Cinepolis employee at the grand opening who said Regal intentionally let the RSM location go. Where did you get your information? If you can't document your disparaging statements, they are pointless. You remind me of someone who has been trying to stir up controversy where there is none for the past couple of years. I thought the residents sent a strong message in the recent election that they love RSM, and aren't buying the false negativity you're trying to sell. Too bad you haven't realized that yet. RSM is doing very well. We are lucky to have companies like Cinepolis want to establish their brands here. I've heard a number of people say that they can't wait to see movies here.
JustMe December 16, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I spoke with employees from Regal Theaters. Also, it certainly appears that you're an employee of Cinepolis - or a member of their PR firm. I certainly won't be voting for the existing mayor or city council members as a result of this. It's very "nice" you know of others who are willing to spend outlandish fees on a movie and pay for poor quality food. You fail to mention the constant interruptions during the movie caused by theater employees walking through the theater with their iPads glowing. Too bad, AP, you don't support your own statements. We'll see if the citizens of RSM will put up with the antics of the city council. As far as the "false negativity" you refer to, it remains a FACT that a lot of people have complained about Cinepolis on Yelp - instead, you want people to believe your hype about an overpriced movie theater that even the author of this blog post has admitted is "not for everybody."
TC December 17, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Go JM!!! So far you have more individuals responding that support your feelings. I CAN afford the ticket price but would rather spend less outside the city for a cheaper ticket then spend the difference here in RSM to support our tax base. Either way, RSM would have done better without this high ticket location even though it appears to make our city leaders proud of themselves.
TrueBlueAmerican December 17, 2012 at 10:48 PM
What a bunch of BUNK! The mayor, council members, planning commisioners did not initiate any business development for this theater to locate in RSM. The Planning Commision and RSM Council Members are quick to take credit for "any business" that chooses to locate in RSM. They are far less than honest about their initiation of any creation efforts and about many other issues! Look at the travesty of the Wal Mart opening and Target adding a food section on the negative bottom line of Ralphs (our original food source}, Albertsons and Pavillions. The same negative impact will be happening to McDonald's, Carl's Jr., Wendys * Burger King with the In-and-Out Burger Opening. The City needed input from successful businessmen such as Kenny Hrabick, Larry McCook or any other business moxy person rather from people being paid from taxpayer money. The uninformed/misguided voters have elected egocentric council members even though they were so very wrong in their choices! If the voters ever get the true story about what is happening in RSM City Hall, their opinion and vote will change.
April Josephson December 17, 2012 at 11:50 PM
"TrueBlueAmerican," I am a voter, and I believe I am well-informed. Yet, I support our city, as did the rest of the electorate in the recent election and through the statistically relevant survey the city did earlier this year. I go to all of the meetings and read the reports. That has not changed my mind as you suggest. Whether someone within the city takes credit for the new businesses coming to town or not, opening a popular business that competes favorably and has the potential to adversely affect others that are not as popular—although I don't believe Cinepolis or In-N-Out will—is one of the freedoms of our capitalistic society. Bringing these additional choices supports our community's right to choose, brings jobs, and revenue to our city. A successful businessperson should know that. It is very difficult for me to understand how your statement makes any sense from an economic standpoint. Your statement sounds exactly like what Larry McCook said during his city council campaign—thus, appearing to be sour grapes. You don't seem to acknowledge that having more businesses that are desirable to most—but possibly not as desirable to their competition—is a good economic strategy for the city.
April Josephson December 18, 2012 at 12:25 AM
JM, I have no ties to Cine´polis. I just don't agree with negative prejudgments. I spoke with someone in corporate management at Cine´polis. Were the Regal employees you spoke with involved at the corporate level to know whether it was Regal's corporate decision? Regal let the theater get run down to the point where it was not a desirable place to attend, and was losing money. While I agree that some people don't want to spend more money to attend a Cine´polis theater, RSM was staying away in droves from the RSM Regal theater. Now that I have seen it, I believe Cine´polis is an improvement for the neighborhood, and will prove to be of benefit to the local economy. I looked at Yelp, and saw that overall, with the exception of Laguna Niguel, which has a 3-star rating—all Cine´polis locations have averaged at least 3 1/2 stars out of 5—with the RSM Cine´polis receiving a 4-star average so far. IMO, that is not bad, considering that those with a negative experience tend to be more motivated to post than others. I also don't think that those who post on a story about the grand opening are a true indicator of how the RSM location will do. I choose to wait and see...
TrueBlueAmerican December 18, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Ms. Josephson, You are totally wrong and obviously know very little about business. Are you still doing business with the City of RSM? Yes, I know and have spoken to Larry McCook plus several other former candidates, council members and RSM citizens. You do not need to lecture me on capitalism.There will only be a shuffle of tax revenue from other fast food entities and minumin wage jobs will benefit some students and low skilled workers. There is a lot of improvement needed on our city council members. If you want me to start listing these, just ask. Since you are so inquisitive, let me ask you a question? Did you author, write or contribute service in any way to the "Libelous Attack Mailing Piece" on Kenny Hrabic before the November 6th Election? Tom
April Josephson December 19, 2012 at 01:58 AM
TBA aka "Tom", I am extremely confused by your post. First, you tell me I know nothing about business, then you ask me a question about business. Huh? I disagree with you that there will merely be a shuffling of dollars. I've already heard from several people in Mission Viejo that they will be coming to RSM to eat, when they didn't before, because of In N Out. And, with Cinepolis, they have brought a greater quantity and variety of jobs than those at Regal. Regarding anything related to the election, I already stated my position very clearly and strongly on those issues in my comments on the election stories. If there is anything you want to know, go read them. The election is over. The voters weighed in. It is now time to move forward without further contention.
TrueBlueAmerican December 21, 2012 at 01:49 AM
You did not answer my questions! Did you have any involvement with the negative "Hit Piece" against Kenney Hrabik and are you doing any commercial business with The City of Rancho Santa Margarita?
April Josephson December 21, 2012 at 02:08 AM
TBA, I did answer you. The first question was answered in my posts on campaign stories. Go read them. To anyone who gives it some thought, the second question answers itself.
PokieAtk January 06, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Looking forward to visit this theater when I want a kid free experience. When taking the kids to a show we'll happily go elsewhere. So nice to have different options in theater experiences.
Steve Hayman January 08, 2013 at 04:05 AM
It's nice to see the comments return to the wonderful evening, I only wish were there! My wife and I will visit soon and enjoy all aspects of the venue. The Mayor's interview was well done and Martin's article presented the "opening" and historical perspective in very nice fashion. Well done and congratulation to all involved! The negativity sucks.
April Josephson January 08, 2013 at 05:31 AM
Steve, I agree! This was a wonderful introduction to what I think will be a great addition to our city, when we look back historically. I will remember this night very fondly. I initially questioned whether the price point might limit the audience, as some people have expressed. But now that I've gone to a matinee with my family, I don't see the ticket price as being much different from your average theater. As far as we were concerned, we didn't want to go anywhere else for the total theater experience. The $20 price was for 3-D. Senior matinee price for Les Miserables—which was magnificent in this relaxed environment—was only $13. I hope this information will make some of the naysayers take a second look.
J Foran January 09, 2013 at 02:03 AM
I'm not here to bash the city council nor take place in the bashing of any of the commentators here. But I must say that I was one of those people that was waiting with bated breath, for MONTHS, for this theater to open. I was so excited...UNTIL I SAW THE PRICES. I truly agree with those of you who are saying that our city council members may have not considered the true demographic of RSM. Although we are a neighborhood that is higher class than some, most of us are still just middle class...and for us $20 for a movie NOT INCLUDING the food is a lot to spend. Nobody goes alone, so consider a party of 2, that's $40 we will spend just for the movie...and then how much more for the food? Don't get me wrong, I agree that this is supposed to be a higher end theatre, but I've been to this type of theatre in other cities...and they usually make their profits on the food and booze...NOT THE MOVIE itself. All the ones I've been to charge maybe a couple-three dollars more for the film, but the main profit-winner is the food and booze itself. But to charge a marked up price for the food as well as almost an extra $10 for the movie...well, I'm not criticizing, I'm just saying that for someone that was so excited to go to the movies at this theatre, I won't be one of the patrons. I just can't afford it. Not in this economy. And it's a shame because I am an avid movie goer...I go every single week. Guess I'll have to continue going to Foothill Ranch. I am very very sad about it....
Mary Kohler January 10, 2013 at 11:37 PM
The service was great although a little slow but our waiter was extremely nice. The seats are very comfy but I will definitely bring a throw next time. Timing is everything- order food and drinks before the movie starts and use the restrooms before also. My only complaint was the sound. Always too loud so it's nothing new. Will definitely go back.
sven January 25, 2013 at 06:30 PM
We love it its pricy but you pick and choose what you spend your money on
Lori February 01, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I'd just like to know how to pronounce Cinepolis.

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