To those moviegoers who were shocked when the Movieworld multiplex theater in the Douglaston Plaza shopping center abruptly closed - fear not, your summer is saved.
The seven-screen picture palace has scheduled its grand re-opening for Friday, June 27, managed by an independent partnership of local entrepreneurs, according to partner Mark Serale. “We’ll be showing a variety of films for kids and adults,” Serale said.
Their opening bill includes the new Disney film “Wall-e” on two screens, along with summer fare from kid-friendly “Kung Fu Panda,” and comedy “Get Smart” to explosive thrillers “The Hulk” and “Wanted” to “Sex and the City.”
“We only signed the lease about three weeks ago,” said Serale. “We’ve put a state-of-the-art digital sound system in all seven theaters, and all new seats in three of them,” he said, adding, “The others will be getting new seating soon.”
The group had sought to take over the theater when the previous operator “walked away,” almost three months ago, according to Serale, but were rebuffed at first. “The landlord called us back about a month ago saying it was available, so we took it.”
In order to get back into operation as soon as possible, management concentrated on sprucing up and put in a whole new “caf/” service bar.
“We’ll be serving premium Italian ices, gelati, ice cream and pastries under the ‘D’Angelo’s of N.Y.C.’ label,” said partner Sal Corrente. “These are family recipes being made here in the city,” he said. “You can make an evening of it or even book a party, right here.”
Managing partner Jay Levinson already operates a movie theater on Long Island. “We grew up in Roslyn,” said his brother Stuart, also a partner, “We love this location - it’s like our back yard.”
Serale, who grew up in Fresh Meadows, expressed excitement at the chance to offer Queens some of what’s been missing in film entertainment.
“We have several ideas, such as morning shows for moms, where they can bring their stroller right into the theater,” he said, adding. “They deserve the break.”
“We also want to have something of an ‘art house’ here, showing films that you’d otherwise have to go to Manhattan to see,” he said.
Among their ideas, management wants to bring back “classic 70 millimeter films in stereo,” like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “West Side Story,” and would “love to have midnight showings of cult films.”
Serale admits that some of their planned innovations, like digital projection to match the digital audio, will have to wait until after the summer movie season, or, like late night showings, would involve negotiations.
“We signed a long lease and we’re in it for the long haul,” he promised.