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Epping to join multiplex crowd with 12-screen O'neil Cinemas premier

Union Leader Correspondent

November 04. 2012 8:10PM
Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new O'neil Cinemas set to officially open on Nov. 9 in the new Brickyard Square shopping center in Epping. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)

EPPING - After years of anticipation, movie-goers will finally be able to catch a flick on the big screen here beginning Friday when O'neil Cinemas opens its new 12-screen theater.

The 30,000-square-foot theater built in the new Brickyard Square shopping center officially opens Nov. 9 with its first movie showing at 11 a.m.

"It came out stunning and we're very excited. This is one of the fastest growing areas in the state," said Dan O'neil, company president and CEO.

Calling it a "state of the art" complex, O'neil said the cinema designed by TK Architects of Missouri will offer stadium seating for approximately 1,500 patrons, digital projection and sound, 3-D viewing auditoriums, and D-Box motion seating.

The theater, which will employ about 50 workers, will have a self-service ticket counter where people can purchase tickets in addition to a combined ticket/concession area. All seats are numbered and must be reserved when they're purchased at the theater or online.

"You find a seat you want and you buy it. It's just like buying a ticket for a Red Sox or Patriots game," O'neil said.

Before its official opening, the theater will hold a charity event on Nov. 7 to benefit the New Hampshire Food Bank. Patrons are asked to bring canned goods. Tickets will cost $2 for shows between 1 and 10 p.m. A private screening will be held Thursday.

"The community has been extremely supportive. We've been getting calls for months. People are asking when tickets are going to go on sale," said manager Lauren Conley.

The theater is the latest addition to the new shopping center being built by Waterstone Retail Development.

The commercial project is one of many that have popped up in Epping since Walmart opened in 2004.

The rapid growth has prompted Epping police to add an extra 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift five nights a week to provide better coverage during the department's busier hours. Police Capt. Jason Newman said the additional shift isn't directly related to the theater opening but will help, especially with traffic.

The new position, which will give police three officers on duty during the night, was approved by voters in March and will be funded by a federal grant. The officer has been hired and is expected to begin patrolling by mid-November.

"This is an added position we have needed since Walmart opened in 2004, before so much commercial and retail establishments came to town. With growth came a tremendous increase in traffic concerns. The development of Brickyard Square, including the movie theater, will no doubt add to the traffic concern," Newman said.

The new officer will help deal with traffic issues, Newman said. But even with the new position, Newman said the police department "will not be able to adequately resolve every issue with current staffing levels."

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