Coming soon to a theater near you: the Godzilla of movie houses.
A 22-screen theater, part of a planned 700,000-square foot, $70 million shopping center in Lindon, would be the largest theater in Utah County and quite possibly the largest in the state.When construction is completed on the facility sometime next summer, a sizable portion of the town's 5,000 residents would be able to fit in the theaters. And the number of movie screens in Utah County would balloon from 57 to 79.
Now for the big question: Why so many screens?
"The trend is going from smaller theaters to six screens to 12 or more," said Dan Campbell, managing general partner of EsNet Management Group, a Provo-based company that is developing the a 90-acre site in southwest Lindon.
"What we want to be is an entertainment complex, complete with restaurants and other forms of entertainment," he continued. "It's centrally located in the county, highly visible and highly accessible from the freeway."
Campbell said EsNet is in the final stages of reaching an agreement with a company that will own and operate the theater, though he's not saying yet what company it is.
The new behemoth cinema will be in direct competition with the Water Gardens, a privately owned theater located in neighboring Pleasant Grove. Water Gardens, which has six screens, opened in November.
"There's not a lot you can do about competition," said Mark Atwood, manager of Water Gardens. "As I've stressed to my employees, we try to have the best service and the cleanest theater. People will come if you are clean and friendly. And having good movies doesn't hurt."
Atwood added that finding good movies may be a problem for the new theater. "There's not 22 good movies out there," he explained.
"You can run a movie like `Titanic' on four different screens, but there's not always a `Titanic' out there."